Qutenza® is a high dose (8%) capsaicin patch which is applied in the physician office and can provide months of pain relief. I was one of the investigators in one of the initial Qutenza studies that led to the approval of the patch for post-herpetic neuralgia, otherwise known as post-shingles pain or pain after the shingles. The patch works well for patients 50% of the time. Virtually all patients with post-herpetic neuralgia are candidates for Qutenza. Only those patients with skin breakdown, recent stroke, uncontrolled hypertension, or recent myocardial infarction are poor candidates for this treatment. What is really nice about Qutenza is that one treatment provides months of benefit.
Qutenza is currently FDA approved for only post-herpetic neuralgia. Is is approved in Europe for all painful peripheral neuropathies except those that are diabetic related. This therapy is commonly less expensive than other treatments offered by pain specialists. Unfortunately, Bellaire Neurology is unable to offer this treatment to medicare patients because the reimbursement is insufficient to cover the costs of treatment. I do offer Qutenza “off-label” for all patients who meet the European criteria. I do this because the treatment is extremely safe, cost-effective, and because there are no FDA approved treatments for the indications that are approved in Europe that are not approved in the US.
If you are interested in obtaining Qutenza®, please make an appointment to see me at my office. If you are coming from out of town, please let us know of your interest in Qutenza at the time you are scheduling your appointment so we can have it available, if needed, to treat you the day of or the day after your scheduled appointment. This will minimize your travel cost.
You can learn more about the shingles and pain after the shingles here.
Qutenza® is registed by NeurogesX, Inc.