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Trigeminal Neuralgia (Facial Nerve Pain) (cont.)

Medications

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
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Trigeminal Neuralgia »

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a common and potentially disabling pain syndrome, the precise pathophysiology of which remains obscure.

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