Trigeminal Neuralgia (Facial Nerve Pain) (cont.)
Doctors use 3 main drugs to treat trigeminal neuralgia-baclofen (Lioresal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and phenytoin (Dilantin).
- Baclofen is the safest of the 3, though less effective. Many doctors begin therapy with baclofen and monitor its results over a week's time.
- For years, carbamazepine had been the mainstay for treating this disorder. In fact, many experts believe that if you get no relief from 2 days of carbamazepine treatment, doctors must reconsider the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia.
- The side effects of this drug include dizziness, sedation, confusion, and rash.
- The doctor likely will complete a series of blood and urine tests before beginning treatment to establish a baseline of laboratory values.
- Carbamazepine in unusual instances causes a rare blood disease known as aplastic anemia.
- Frequent blood monitoring avoids this problem. You can expect to take consistent doses of this medicine for about 6 months before your doctor reconsiders the dosing schedule.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/12/2014
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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