And if you google it, you can easily find TN’s morbid nickname: the suicide disease.
“I had to turn to my mom and ask what suicide was,” said Katie Rose Hamilton, who heard the nickname directly from her doctor when she was diagnosed at age 11. “It wasn’t a fun night.”
“There are people who commit suicide over trigeminal neuralgia, but they’re rare,” said Linskey. “We lose more patients during their course with trigeminal neuralgia from drug overdoses than anything else.”
Whether those overdoses are intentional or accidental is unclear. Many of the drugs prescribed to TN patients are anti-seizure medications, which can affect memory, causing some to lose track of how much medication they’ve taken.
What is clear is that the medication, while helpful (and sometimes life saving), can have immediate effects on patients’ daily lives, profound and small. Even when Jamie Parroco, 27, takes the lowest possible dosage, it’s still enough to affect her lifestyle.