ASA in Ether Effective for Herpetic and Post herpetic Neuralgia

ASA in Diethylether gets good to excellent results in over 3/4 cases of herpetic and post herpetic neuralgia. Development of post- herpetic neuraliga was under 3%. However, there is a trick involved in using the suspension…

Originally, results were published here:

Topical aspirin/diethyl ether mixture versus indomethacin and diclofenac/diethyl ether mixtures for acute herpetic neuralgia and postherpetic neuralgia: a double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study
Giuseppe De Benedittis and Ariberto Lorenzetti
Pain Volume 65, Issue 1, April 1996, Pages 45-51
abstract here

However there was a poster at the IASP Montreal meeting 2010.


  •  85% good – excellent control of herpetic neuralgia
  • 77% good – excellent results of post herpetic neuralgia
  • 2.7 % post herpetic neuralgia development rate (versus a potential 50% rate – which is rather high prediction rate but still…)
  • Technique – Trick is, the ASA degrades into salicylic acid which is inert so patient has to make it up fresh.
    500 mg ASA tablets are crushed – anywhere from 500 – 1500 mg dose is used depending on the area and suspended in 10 – 30 mls of diethylether (Flammable!!).
  • It leaves a white residue on the  skin, but even facially, the patients would rather put up with it.
  • Patients get a one liter bottle of Diethylether and make it up at home. Application is 3 times daily. This needs to be either done outdoors or in a well ventilated area as is flammable.

Comment – the small degree of post-herpetic neuralgia and the control rates are incredible. Creams and other agents have been tried but I imagine they degrade into salicylic acid as well… Pharmacists will have to get in the diethylether…

Anyone using this agent?

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