Efficacy of medical therapy in patients with trigeminal neuralgia attending Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
Background: Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by brief episodes of sharp, shock-like, unilateral pain in the area of distribution of the Trigeminal nerve.
Objective: This study seeks to assess the efficacy of medical treatment of patients suffering from Trigeminal neuralgia.
Methods: A preliminary descriptive study of patients with Trigeminal neuralgia attending the Oral Medicine clinic of a tertiary institution in western Africa, using information from their case notes.
Results: A total of 16 patients with Trigeminal neuralgia were assessed. 9 (56.3%) were females, 7 (43.8%) were males with age range of 29-80 years. All the patients presented with sharp, shock-like pain with sudden onset. With the institution of medical therapy, there was reduction of pain in 85% of patients within 6 months of therapy, while 4 (30.8%) were completely pain free after institution of therapy. Recurrence of the condition occurred in 8 cases, with 2 of the patients presenting with periods of complete remission of pain for a period of 3-4 months before recurrence. None of the patients have had the option of surgical intervention as an alternative to medical treatment since the response to medical treatment was good in majority of cases.
Conclusion: There is no definite cure for this condition, therefore the ability to control pain to improve the quality of life of patients is of importance. Medical therapy (either monotherapy or multi-drug therapy) has been shown to be an effective treatment modality in managing this debilitating condition.
Keywords: Trigeminal neuralgia, pain, medical therapy