According to a doctor in Brazil the excruciating pain associated with inflammation of the trigeminal nerve of the head and face can be substantially relieved by injections of botulinum toxin A.
Dr. Elcio J. Piovesan, also says the pain relief lasts at least 60 days.
Botulinum toxin A is commonly known as Botox, but the product goes by several brand names.
Dr. Piovesan, from Hospital de Clinicas da Universidade Federal do Parana in Curitiba, Brazil, and colleagues gave subcutaneous injections of botulinum toxin to four men who had trigeminal neuralgia for an average of 10 years and to nine women who had suffered on average for 8 years.
The patients assessed the pain in the three branches of the trigeminal nerve on a 10-point visual analog scale, which ranged from 9.82 to 10 points before treatment.
Ten days after the injections, scores averaged 3.78 to 5.83 and maximum pain relief was noted after 20 days, with average pain scores of 0 to 0.82.
By day 60, the pain had increased slightly with scores in the 1.82-to -3.17 range.
Prior to the botulinum treatment, the patients had used numerous medications to try to keep the pain at bay.
After the botulinum treatment Piovesan says that most of the patients reduced their preventive medication by more than 50 percent, while others stopped them completely.
The study is published in the journal Neurology, October 25, 2005.