Q. I’ve heard that capsaicin nasal spray was used to treat migraines in a study. I’ve also read accounts online of migraine sufferers who put capsaicin powder into their nostrils as a nonprescription alternative treatment.

I have tried this. I dip a water-moistened cotton swab in a miniscule amount of powder and insert it briefly into each nostril, breathing deeply. It provides some relief.

My concern is about possible damage this may cause nasal membranes. I have noticed no after-effects other than some dryness. But I suffer from migraines almost daily in the spring and don’t want to frequently employ a technique that may cause harm.
A. Essence of hot peppers (capsaicin) can be extremely irritating. Putting something like that in one’s nose could create burning, stinging and sneezing. While it is true that there has been some research on capsaicin nasal spray for migraine, this is still experimental. We do not have information on the long-term potential for harm.

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