Chilli pepper treatment brings relief to Gillian

After 3 long years of restless nights, Gillian Rushbrook, is finally getting a good night’s sleep thanks to a new form of pain relief.

After a crush injury to her lower leg, Gillian suffered from acute pain for 3 years. This led to very poor sleep habits and spent much of the time feeling very low. A colleague of Gillian’s finally recommended a consultation with Dr Victor Mendis, Pain Management Consultant at Chelmsford Medical Centre. After listening to Gillian talk about her pain, he fully understood what she was going through and suggested she try a new treatment called Qutenza.

The treatment – which has been nicknamed the “Chilli Patch” – is a cutaneous patch called Qutenza which delivers a medicine to the skin. The patch contains a substance called capsaicin which is normally found in chilli peppers. The treatment is currently used in several hospitals in and around London but Chelmsford Medical Centre is the first place in Essex to make the treatment available.

Four nights after her treatment, Gillian slept through the night for the first time in 3 years. She has minimal pain now although still reports some niggling pain just outside the area treated with the patch. Gillian said; “I feel like a new woman since the chilli patch treatment. I am now enjoying full nights’ sleep and my mood has brightened considerably. I can now walk around town without that nagging pain in my leg. The nurses at Chelmsford Medical Centre were really lovely and talked me through the procedure. They even called me twice at home the next week to check everything was ok. I found that very comforting.”

Dr Victor Mendis, who has pioneered the new pain patch in Essex, said: “The benefits of this treatment are that it is non-invasive and relatively cheap compared to other pain management procedures. I have been very impressed with the results I have seen so far and am delighted that the results have been so good that it is now being recognised by the NHS and private medical insurance providers.”

At Chelmsford Medical Centre, the treatment is administered by nurse Amanda Thorpe, under the supervision of Dr Mendis. The actual treatment is relatively straight forward. A local cream anaesthetic is applied an hour before the treatment to numb the area and help reduce discomfort. The Qutenza patch is cut to match the size and shape of the most painful areas of the skin. Up to 4 patches may be used at any one time and each patch should remain in place for between 30 and 60 minutes depending on which part of the body is being treated.

Amanda recently spoke at the Centre’s Qutenza Education Evening: “Over the past 11 months, we have treated 13 patients with the Qutenza patch. 8 of those 13 patients have had a significant reduction in their pain level since the treatment which has affected their lifestyle dramatically.”

Amongst the hospitals using the treatment, there is now significant evidence that it helps reduce neuropathic pain. 70% of all patients treated with the patch have noticed improvements in their pain, have come off their medication for pain relief and in some instances, the treatment has enabled them to return to work.

Amanda went on: “We have seen good levels of success for localised nerve pain especially post shingles pain and scar pain. It’s heartening to see patients relieved of their pain by using the patch.”

For more information on the Qutenza treatment, please call the Chelmsford Medical Centre on 01245 253760.

Date: 13/12/2012
By: Richard George