Question: My daughter has been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. She says it is the most pain she has ever suffered, including childbirth. What does the future hold for her?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
A variety of treatment options are available and having trigeminal neuralgia doesn't mean that you have to put up with the pain. Doctors usually can effectively manage trigeminal neuralgia with medications, injections, or surgery.
Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol) is the drug most commonly prescribed; other anticonvulsant drugs include oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), lamotrigine (Lamictal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and gabapentin (Neurontin). Antispasmodic muscle-relaxing agents such as baclofen may be used alone or in combination with carbamazepine or phenytoin.
Injecting alcohol into the part of your face that is painful can provide pain relief. Injecting glycerol at the nerve root is another option. Balloon compression techniques also control pain in most people, at least for a while.
A much more safe and effective method is the use of a focused, high dose of radiation to the root of the trigeminal nerve. Another procedure is treating the nerve fibers with electrical current.
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