Patient Information

Qutenza patch for pain management


Applying a Qutenza patch

This offers information for anyone who has been prescribed pain management treatment with a Qutenza patch.

What is Qutenza?

Qutenza is a pain management patch designed for use on your skin.

The patch contains 8% of an ingredient called synthetic capsaicin. Capsaicin is the element that gives chilli peppers their heat sensation.  

When you use the patch, the capsaicin acts on pain-sensing nerves in your skin.  It makes them less sensitive.  This often leads to a reduction in pain.

Why are you treating me with Qutenza?

We are using Qutenza because you have a type of pain known as peripheral neuropathic pain.  

What is peripheral neuropathic pain?

Peripheral neuropathy develops because of damage to the nerves in the body’s extremities, such as the hands, feet and arms.  The symptoms can include:

  • numbness and tingling in the feet or hands
  • burning, stabbing or shooting pain in affected areas
  • loss of balance and coordination
  • muscle weakness, especially in the feet.

What causes peripheral neuropathic pain?

This kind of pain can be caused by:

  • Shingles
  • Diabetes
  • Chemotherapy
  • A reaction to some medicines
  • Different illnesses
  • Surgery
  • Scar pain.

Are there risks involved with taking Qutenza?

Qutenza, like all medications, can have side effects.  The side effects of Qutenza usually wear off quickly. The most common side effects are:

  • Red, painful skin where the patch is applied
  • Itching
  • Bumps and blisters
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Increased pain (occasionally patients report that pain increases for a while after treatment).

Are there any restrictions on using Qutenza?

You must not use Qutenza if:

  • You are allergic to chilli peppers
  • You have poorly controlled blood pressure
  • You have significant heart disease.

We do not:

  • Apply the patch to broken skin.
  • Apply the patch to the face.

How do I prepare for treatment?

Do the following to prepare for treatment.

  • Eat and drink as normal before having treatment with Qutenza.  It is not a nil by mouth treatment.
  • If you take regular medication, take it as usual before coming to the clinic for treatment.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.
  • If your feet are being treated, wear comfortable footwear.  Clean your feet before you come for treatment.
  • If the area to be treated is covered in hair, shave the area 4 days before your treatment.

Who will give me the Qutenza treatment?

The patch will be applied by a specialist nurse who has been trained to apply Qutenza.

What happens during treatment?

During treatment, the following takes place.

  • The nurse marks the most painful areas on your skin with washable skin marker.
  • The nurse clips away any hair in the treatment area.
  • The Qutenza patches are cut to size and applied to your skin.
  • A bandage or plaster is applied on top to keep the patch firmly on your skin.
  • If you are treated for nerve pain on your feet, the patch stays in place for 30 minutes.
  • If you are treated for nerve pain anywhere else on the body the patch stays in place for 60 minutes (1 hour).
  • When the treatment is finished, the nurse carefully removes the Qutenza patch. 
  • The nurse applies a cleansing gel to your skin. The gel stays on your skin for at least 1 minute. Then nurse then wipes off the cleansing gel, washes the area with soap and water and dries it. 

While you are being treated:The patch is made of powerful chilli so it is best not to touch the patch, or the area being treated. If you touch it you may experience irritation such as coughing or stinging.

Do not touch your eyes, mouth or other sensitive areas.

Do not try to remove the patch yourself. A doctor or a nurse will remove it for you.

If you do touch the patch or the area being treated, let the doctor or nurse know and they will wash your hands for you.
Exclamation mark

Is the Qutenza patch painful to use?

The skin often becomes red and has a burning or stinging sensation during and after treatment with Qutenza. 

If you experience significant pain, the nurse will cool this area of your skin to ease your discomfort.

What happens immediately after treatment?

When your nurse removes the patch, you may experience the following:

  • Reddening of the skin
  • Pain
  • A burning sensation.

These reactions are normal and they will reduce over the next few days.

At home, if you feel uncomfortable you can cool the affected area with cool packs from the fridge.  You can also take paracetamol.  Read the paracetamol label carefully and do not exceed the recommended dose.

How soon will I feel pain relief after treatment?

Most people start to feel some pain relief on the day the patch is applied.

It can take up to 14 days before you feel the full effect.

Will I need a follow up appointment?

We will schedule a follow up telephone appointment for 6 to 8 weeks after your treatment.  This will enable us to check how you are doing and assess your response to the treatment.   

Contact Kingston Hospital pain clinic if you experience unexpected problems (for example blistering). See Contacts section below.

Qutenza patch for pain management - Kingston Hospital Download PDF


Kingston Hospital Pain Clinic 020 8934 2563 or 020 8934 2453

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Support services

Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.


Switchboard 020 8546 7711

  • ‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
  • Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Support 020 8546 7711
  • Learning Disability Liaison Team 020 8934 6895
Print - Standard Size Print - Large Size


Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

Request More Information


Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

Tell us how we are doing we'd love to have your opinion