Nonivamide, also called pelargonic acid vanillylamide or PAVA, is an organic compound and a capsaicinoid. It is an amide of pelargonic acid (n-nonanoic acid) and vanillyl amine. It is present in chili peppers, but is commonly manufactured synthetically. It is more heat-stable than capsaicin.
Ointment sold under trade name Finalgon is used to relieve arthritis and muscle pain. A small drop of the ointment applied on the skin is absorbed quickly causing warm to burning sensation and pain relief for several hours.
Nonivamide is used as a food additive to add pungency to seasonings, flavorings, and spice blends. It is also used in the confectionery industry to create a hot sensation, and in the pharmaceutical industry in some formulations as a cheaper alternative to capsaicin.
Like capsaicin, it can deter mammals (but not birds or insects) from consuming plants or seeds (e.g. squirrels and bird feeder seeds). This is consistent with nonivamide's role as a TRPV1 ion channel agonist. Mammalian TRPV1 is activated by heat and capsaicin, but the avian form is insensitive to capsaicin.
Nonivamide is used (under the name PAVA) as the payload in "less-lethal munitions" such as the Fabrique Nationale Herstal FN 303 or as the active ingredient in most pepper sprays – in both applications, the idea is to temporarily incapacitate people so that they can either be detained prior to arrest or deterred from acts of violence toward law-enforcement personnel or third parties (such as rioting or other group violence).