How to Alleviate Pain Caused by Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the largest of the craniofacial nerves). Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by intense burning, stabbing, and aching pains in different regions of the face at different intervals. There are two subtypes of trigeminal neuralgia known as type 1 (TN1) and type 2 (TN2). If you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, there are steps you can take to alleviate pain.[1]

Ask your doctor about anticonvulsant medicines. Anticonvulsant medications are one of the most common treatments for trigeminal neuralgia. Your doctor may prescribe one or more anticonvulsants until he finds the one that works the best to manage your pain symptoms.[2]

  • Anticonvulsant medications are typically prescribed instead of traditional painkillers (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are not as effective at blocking the electrical signals from the misfiring neurons that are causing the sensations of pain.[3]
  • Carbamazepine is the is the usual initial anticonvulsant medication treatment. [4]
  • Oxcarbazepine is similar to carbamazepine in effectiveness and may be better tolerated, but is more expensive. Gabapentin and lamotrigine are often used for patients who cannot tolerate carbamazepine.
  • Baclofen may be a useful medication to take alongside the anticonvulsant, particularly in patients with TN related to multiple sclerosis.
  • Anticonvulsant medications may lose their efficacy over time as they build up in the bloodstream; at this point, your doctor may switch your prescription to a different anticonvulsant that your body has not grown insensitive to.[5]

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