Carbamazepine is effective for relieving chronic pain caused by damage to nerves, either from injury or disease, although the data available to support this is limited. Anticonvulsants (also known as antiepileptics) are a group of medicines commonly used for treating 'fits' or epilepsy, but which are also effective for treating pain. The type of pain which responds well is neuropathic pain, e.g., postherpetic neuralgia (persistent pain experienced in an area previously affected by shingles), trigeminal neuralgia, and painful complications of diabetes. About two-thirds of patients who take carbamazepine for neuropathic pain can expect to achieve good pain relief in the short term, and two thirds can expect to experience at least one adverse event.
". This efficacy is however compromised by the tolerability, with a numbers needed to harm of 3.4 for minor and of 24 for severe adverse events [21,22]. OXC has a comparable efficacy to that of CBZ but a greater tolerability and a lower potential for drug interaction [23-25]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The guidelines on trigeminal neuralgia management that have been agreed and jointly published by the American Academy of Neurology and the European Federation of Neurological Societies recommend carbamazepine (CBZ) and oxcarbazepine (OXC) as the first-choice medical treatments in patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The aim of this retrospective study was to analyze the natural history of classical trigeminal neuralgia in a large cohort of patients, focusing on drug responsiveness, side effects related to CBZ and OXC, and changes in pain characteristics during the course of disease.
We selected the last 100 consecutive patients with typical TN who began treatment with CBZ and the last 100 with OXC. All had MRI scans and a complete neurophysiological study of trigeminal reflexes. Among them, 22 were excluded on the basis of neuroradiological or neurophysiological investigations, to avoid the inclusion of patients with possible secondary TN. The initial number of responders was 98% with CBZ with a median dose of 600 mg (range 200–1200), and of 94% with OXC, with a median dose of 1200 mg (range 600–1800). In a mean period of 8.6 months, 27% of responders to CBZ incurred in undesired effects to a level that caused interruption of treatment or a dosage reduction to an unsatisfactory level. In a mean period of 13 months, the same occurred to 18% of responders to OXC. Among patients who had a good initial response, only 3 patients with CBZ and 2 with OXC developed late resistance. During the course of disease, paroxysms worsened in intensity in 3% of patients, and paroxysms duration increased in 2%. We did not observe the onset of a clinically manifest sensory deficit at any time in any patient.
Unlike common notion, in our large patient sample the worsening of pain with time and the development of late resistance only occurred in a very small minority of patients. CBZ and OXC were confirmed to be efficacious in a large majority of patients, but the side effects caused withdrawal from treatment in an important percentage of patients. These results suggest the opportunity to develop a better tolerated drug.
The Journal of Headache and Pain 06/2014; 15(1):34. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-15-34 · 2.80 Impact Factor
"The treatment of TN continues to be a major challenge due to the complexity of TN’s causes and the trigeminal nerve. The antiepileptic drugs, such as carbamazepine [23,24] oxcarbazepine [25,26] and phenytoin [27,28], are commonly used in the treatment of TN, but a substantial proportion of patients have poor response to this treatment, predominantly because of their side effects related to the central nervous system . Eventually, many TN patients become refractory to antiepileptic drugs and other drugs [29-32]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trigeminal neuralgia is a common disorder caused mainly by compression of the trigeminal nerve root by an overlying blood vessel. Pharmacotherapy and surgery are ineffective or unsuitable in many patients. Therefore, other therapeutic modalities have been tried, including injection of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A). This study aims to systematically review the therapeutic efficacy and safety of BTX-A in trigeminal neuralgia. PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library Clinical Trials and Web of Science from January 1966 to March 2013 were searched with the terms of "botulinum toxin" AND "trigeminal neuralgia", and references of related articles were traced. Data on the efficacy and safety of BTX-A in this disorder were extracted and analyzed by at least 2 reviewers. Data for individual studies were reported, and pooled data were analyzed if appropriate. Five prospective studies and one double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study were identified. Response was achieved in approximately 70-100% of patients, and the mean pain intensity and frequency were reduced by approximately 60-100% at 4 weeks after treatment in most studies. Major adverse events were not reported. Available studies show BTX-A may be effective in treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. However, well-designed randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial is still lacking. Future BTX-A treatment studies on optimal dose, duration of the therapeutic efficacy, common AEs, and the time and indications for repeat injection would be promising.
The Journal of Headache and Pain 08/2013; 14(1):72. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-14-72 · 2.80 Impact Factor
"Finally, 2 systematic reviews on the pharmacological management of TN, published by Wiffen et al. (16) and Jorns et al. (17), concluded that carbamazepine is a drug of first choice because it has proven effective in the treatment of TN. However, both reviews highlighted that there is need for more high-quality studies to draw conclusions based on evidence on the management of TN. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many therapies have been proposed for the management of neuropathic pain, and they include the use of different antiepileptic drugs. However, the lack of high quality studies indicates that results on the different neuropathic disorders under study do not recommend a particular drug treatment. This study makes a systematic review of the published literature on the use of several antiepileptic drugs to treat neuropathic pain, and has the objective of considering both its clinical characteristics and pharmacological use, which will depend on their level of scientific evidence and will follow the principles of evidence-based dentistry. The articles were stratified according to their scientific evidence using the SORT criteria (Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy), and it included those articles that only have level 1 or 2. Randomized clinical trials were stratified according to their level of quality using the JADAD scale, an instrument described by Jadad et al. (7). to assess the quality of clinical trials, while studies with a level below 3 were discarded. Recently, type A or B recommendations are given in favor or against the use of antiepileptic drugs to treat neuropathic pain on the basis of their scientific quality.
Key words:Neuropathic pain, antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, post- herpetic neuralgia, burning mouth syndrome, persistent idiopathic facial pain.
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