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Testing Ausanil, Capsaicin Nasal Spray for Migraine & Headache

Capsaicin (an active component of chili peppers) as a treatment for migraine, severe headaches or pain flits in and out of the news. For migraine, the preferred form is a nasal spray. Ausanil, a nasal spray of capsaicin and ginger, is the latest entry into the marketplace.

The company sent me a free sample bottle and, after I tested it once, I interviewed company founder Dr. Anjan Chatterjee. Dr. Chatterjee is a neurologist by training who has worked in drug development for the last 10 years. He also has migraine and is unable to take many medications, but has found relief with Ausanil, which he’s been using for three years.

How Ausanil is Said to Work

Capsaicin nasal spray is thought to work for headache and migraine by desensitizing the trigeminal nerve (which it accesses through the nose) and reduces CGRP, thus reducing swelling and inflammation. CGRP, as we’re learning, is thought to play a pivotal role in migraine.

The Research

Capsaicin is known to be effective for pain relief, but there’s not resounding evidence – or even very many studies – that show its efficacy for any headache disorder. Civamide, a lab-created version of capsaicin, was promising in a few small studies, but drug development was halted early. I don’t know if that’s because it wasn’t very effective, didn’t have a high enough profit potential, patients hated the sting or if it was due to some other reason.

A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology last week tested intranasal capsaicin (presumably Ausanil, since Dr. Chatterjee was one of the researchers and his company is mentioned in the PR materials) in 18 patients with a variety of headache disorders that cause severe pain (including migraine, cluster headache and tension-type headache). Thirteen participants reported complete pain relief, four had some relief and one had no relief. Relief lasted between 30 minutes and several hours. (According to those criteria, the 30 minutes of pain relief the first time I tried Ausanil would be considered a positive response, even though the pain came back even worse than before I used it.)

My Experience

I wanted to test Ausanil as any consumer would, so I tried it before I talked to Dr. Chatterjee. I read the package instructions, looked at the website and watched the YouTube video on using Ausanil correctly. That’s more thorough than I usually am. I was about to spray chili pepper up my nose and didn’t want it to hurt more than necessary.

Use 1: I sprayed Ausanil in both nostrils. It burned. A lot. The stinging hurt intensely for about 15 minutes and was gone after 30. The initial pain relief was also gone after 30 minutes… and the migraine came back worse than before I used the spray.

Use 2: After talking with Dr. Chatterjee, I gave the spray another try. This time, I only sprayed it in the left nostril since the migraine was concentrated above my left eye. The stinging wasn’t as intense, likely because it was only one nostril, but it still hurt. The spray didn’t provide any pain relief this time, not even through the distraction of the stinging. It didn’t make the migraine worse, though it seemed to render ineffective the triptan I took 15 minutes beforehand.

Two tests were enough (in fact, Dr. Chatterjee usually says that if it doesn’t work, a person shouldn’t bother trying it again). Considering the potential pain of a migraine, the stinging isn’t a big deal. I would gladly trade 30 minutes of burning in my nose to stop a migraine attack. Except that it didn’t work for me.

In our call, Dr. Chatterjee said that only a few people, all of whom have chronic migraine, have told the company that the spray made the migraine worse. Most users either have a response or they don’t.

What You Need to Know

  • Ausanil will sting and burn when you spray it in your nose. There’s no way around that side effect. Participants in Dr. Chatterjee’s recent study said the burn lasted 2-10 minutes. He told me that the sting lessens over time and that he barely feels it anymore.
  • Watch the YouTube video on the correct use of Ausanil.
  • Don’t inhale.
  • Spray it only in the nostril on the side that the migraine is on. If you have pain on both sides, you can spray it in both nostrils, but it will burn more.
  • Have Kleenex nearby. You may sneeze, your nose may run or your eyes might water. Use a separate tissue for your eyes and your nose so you don’t get any residual capsaicin in your eyes.
  • Check Ausanil’s website to learn more about the product and how it works. You can also watch testimonials from patients for whom it has been effective.

Bottom Line

I recommend giving Ausanil a try if your headaches or migraines are severe. Yes, it burns, but the burn lasts way less time than the headache or migraine would. Other than that, there are no documented side effects. The research doesn’t strongly support the use of intranasal capsaicin for headache disorders, but there’s enough there that it’s worth a try, especially if you’re not getting relief elsewhere.

To Buy

  • Ausanil is currently $28.95 (with free shipping) for an 8 ml bottle on Amazon. It’s strength is listed as 3x capsaicin and 3x ginger.
  • Sinol Headache, a competing product, is $11.27 (including shipping) for a 15 ml bottle. It’s strength is listed as 4x capsaicin. It doesn’t contain ginger, which Ausanil does.

(I feel like a jerk telling you about a competing product after Dr. Chatterjee and his PR team were so kind and helpful. But, as a patient who has spent a lot of money on products that don’t work for me, I feel obligated to tell you about the less expensive option. The two products aren’t identical; you may find one works better than the other.)

19 Responses to Testing Ausanil, Capsaicin Nasal Spray for Migraine & Headache

  1. Jack Vande says:

    Thank you for your post. My wife has Transformed Migraine with Chronic Daily Headache for 13 years now. We have exhausted everything offered by two Migraine Clinics and have seen 11 neurologists as well as tried acupunture, chiropractic, facet injections, diet and botox to name a few. I saw this on Facebook and decided to order it for my wife. We are in hopes it will give her some relief. I purchased the Ausanil because it contains ginger for nausea as opposed to the Sinol. Praying for something that will finally work outside of opiates.

    • Eric says:

      If you haven’t explored the possibility yet, look into neuromuscular dentistry as a possible treatment for your wife. Many migraine and headache sufferers have major improvements when they have an overbite realigned and wear a night time mouthguard. When the jaw is moved forward a touch and down so that your front teeth bite down tip to tip and your rear molars are raised with crowns and your ideal bite is determined, you can relieve pain in the trigeminal nerve that may be coming from compression in the tmj from clenching. An overstressed trigeminal nerve can cause all kinds of inflammatory conditions as a result of the elevated substance P it triggers.

      • Eric, do you have data on this or links to published studies? Mouthguards are helpful for some people with migraine or headache, but I’ve seen no evidence that many have major improvements. There’s even a case study where the mouthguard was the headache trigger. If there is evidence, I’d love to know of it so I know whether to recommend this.

        Kerrie

  2. Mark Owens says:

    This is an interesting formula as I currently use a capsaicin based nasal spray called Sinol-M. It seems the Ausanil uses twice the amount of capsaicin than the Sinol-M contains. I havent used Ausanil as the Sinol-M works very well for me and is half the cost.

    Mark

  3. sherrie says:

    I tried the Ausanil and it’s definitely going into my toolbox. My response is fairly typical of what I read on the website. It is an intense sensation (but so is migraine), and I did get more used to it after a few uses. If my migraine is mild and mostly in the front, it has stopped it…but other times it helps give a pause in the migraine pain. The migraine might come back. But pauses are a good thing. I still use maxalt, cold and hot presses, and ginger.

    • Michele says:

      Hi Sherrie,
      Glad to hear that Ausanil is working for you. It is important not to inhale or sniff Ausanil up into the sinuses as it works on the sensory nerves in the mucous lining of the nostrils; sniffing it up intensifies the stinging but makes is no more effective, just a bit more difficult to tolerate.

  4. Roz says:

    Quick question – did the trial patients who received relief when using this product have high or low blood pressure? I’d be interested to find this out.
    Thanks

  5. Margo says:

    The Sinol works well, doesn’t have a bad burn its more menthol feeling than anything. Im a migraine sufferer since grade school and am now 34. It does stop my headaches and sometimes I need to use it twice.

  6. Esther says:

    i happened to find Sinus Buster at my local Walgreens. I was suffering from a migraine along with sinus pressure towards my right eye. I wanted relief without the anxiety I get with most nasal sprays. It cost 18.00 dollars but due to the pain, I was desperate.
    Long story short, I bought it and sprayed it in my nose in the parking lot. It stung A LOT! and it worked
    I take Prescription meds for migraines. It hurt and relived my pain quickly. I love it. But, the burn is still scary.

    for magrines

  7. Mark Gold says:

    “I suffered from chronic headaches — diagnosed by the New England Center for Headache, Stamford , CT , as combined tension/migraine/rebound — for decades. I self-treated with Excedrin and, for 10 years after diagnosis, with prescribed Fioricet and Fioricet with codeine, if needed. Numerous preventive drugs either didn’t work or caused unacceptable side effects. There was no end in sight. Then, my doctor at the Center, Dr. Alan Rapoport, who had done research on capsaicin as a preventive for cluster headaches, tried me on a sample of Sinol spray, based on capsaicin. It was miraculous. Within 3 months, I was off all meds and was using Sinol only occasionally; within 6 months, I was off Sinol too. I still keep it around for the rare occasion when, e.g., wine or oriental spicy food might trigger a mild headache, but my headaches have now been essentially gone for several years. Based on my experience, Sinol nasal spray is something that should be brought to the attention of your readers, especially for breaking the al years. Based on my experience, Sinol nasal spray is something that should be brought to the attention of your readers, especially for breaking the rebound effect. It doesn’t have a horrible burn like described and it is similar to a menthol wasabi type feeling. I liked it very much. It is available over the Internet at drugstore.com or at http://www.sinolusa.com and at several retail establishments.” Mark

  8. Bill Jones says:

    Thanks for the post. I have tried sinus buster, ausanil and sinol. They are all pretty good for keeping my migraines somewhat under control, but I recently found sinus plumber headache nasal spray that has capsicum along with with feverfew, peppermint and caffeine. This is the first pepper nasal spray that literally stopped my migraine attack all the way. It seems stronger than the other pepper sprays, but I think the caffeine really does the trick. Sinus plumber works much better than the other for me. They also have an allergy nasal spray with capsicum and horseradish, but I haven’t tried that. http://www.sinusplumber.com

  9. Carol S says:

    I have had daily headaches on awakening for 20 years. Now 82, I have multiple
    headache diagnosis. I also have hypertension and my B/P spikes with my migraines.
    (180-220) systolic. I am trying to choose which spray to try now. Just plain capsiacin does not do it for me any more.
    Could the caffeine in sinus plumber raise my BP?
    I am very sensitive to caffeine.
    This is a great site. Thanks

  10. Lillian says:

    Sinol-M works the best, thanks for the post.

  11. Shellie Hughes says:

    Can I get a free sample? I am suffering from vestibular migraine.

    • Shellie, the company only provided me with a sample for a review. I don’t believe they provide samples otherwise, but you can probably contact them through their website.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  12. Grace says:

    ausanil.com has the message,
    “AUSANIL IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

    THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PAST CUSTOMERS—
    WE WISH YOU WELL AND HEADACHE-FREE!

    FOR FURTHER INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT INFO@AUSANIL.COM

    I contacted them, and received a response stating that ” VR1 Inc. that manufactured Ausanil is no longer operational”. I found it at amazon from several resellers. I found vimeo and youtube videos.

  13. Rod says:

    Ausanil is no longer available but Sinol-M Headache Relief is actually a better option. It doesn’t have the bad burning and is being used at the New England Center for Headache and other clinics. Find it here http://www.SinolUSA.com

    Dr Rod

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