Our experts offer the full range of treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and facial pain. We precisely personalize your care plan to meet your specific needs.
For some patients, medication provides pain relief. Regular pain medications are not effective. Instead, anti-seizure medications (typically used to treat epilepsy by slowing electrical nerve impulses) have shown to be effective for controlling pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. This is logical – electrical currents in the brain can cause seizures; electrical currents in the face occur in trigeminal neuralgia. Even though anti-seizure (also called anticonvulsant) medications were not developed to treat pain, they provide pain relief by reducing the trigeminal nerve’s ability to send pain signals.
Medications used to treat TN include:
Carbamazepine: This drug (brand names include Tegretol® and Carbatrol®) can treat the condition very well but also cause side effects such as drowsiness, unsteadiness, difficulty with coordination and memory, slurred speech, and difficulty with thinking or remembering. This treatment also requires that you get regular blood tests to check your white blood cell count, platelets, and liver function. However, it works better on the pain of trigeminal neuralgia than most other medications, and it has been used safely for years by millions of people for seizures. Most patients start on low doses, which their doctor may gradually increase until achieving the best pain relief with the fewest side effects.
Other medications your doctor may prescribe for trigeminal neuralgia pain relief include:
Many other medications can help. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your condition.
Stanford performs the most advanced, minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat trigeminal neuralgia. Some of these procedures are available only from Stanford Health Care; others are available at only a few select hospitals worldwide.
Surgical options at Stanford include:
In addition to medication and advanced surgical procedures, we offer neuromodulation therapies that target the brain and nervous system with electrical stimulation to help relieve pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia.
Some people find their trigeminal neuralgia symptoms improve with alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, vitamin therapy, nutrition therapy, and biofeedback. Talk with your doctor about these and other options. Before trying any new treatment, always check with your healthcare providers to make sure it is safe and doesn’t interact with any other treatments you receive.