Psychiatric disorders may follow trigeminal neuralgia

By Eleanor McDermid, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) have an increased risk of later developing certain psychiatric disorders, a population-based study suggests.

The findings show patients to be at risk of developing depression, anxiety and sleep disorders, but not bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

“Depressive, anxiety, and sleep disorders are treatable psychiatric illnesses and have great impact on the quality of life for patients with TN”, say Chun-Hsien Wen (Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan) and study co-authors.

“Therefore, clinicians should be alerted to the possibility of patients with TN developing depressive, anxiety, or sleep disorders.”

As reported in The Journal of Headache and Pain, the team identified 3273 TN patients, aged a median of 45.6 years, from a national insurance database and matched them by age and gender with 13,092 people without TN.

During a median follow-up of 3 years, 5.4% of the TN group and 2.0% of the controls were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

Depression, anxiety and sleep disorders were the most common among the TN patients, at 2.23%, 1.80% and 1.22%, respectively. And the risk of these disorders was significantly increased among the patients versus the controls, by 2.85-fold, 2.98-fold and 2.17-fold, respectively, after accounting for age, gender, comorbidities, urbanisation and income.

The risk of developing these conditions was significantly increased both within the first year after TN diagnosis and later after diagnosis, but the hazard ratios tended to be largest within the first year. For example, the hazard ratio for developing depressive disorders was 5.36 within 1 year after diagnosis and 2.02 in subsequent years.

“Several studies have confirmed that depression and anxiety are the most common co-morbidities in patients with TN”, say Wen et al. “Our results indicate that TN might be a risk factor for subsequent depressive and anxiety disorders”, they add, calling for prospective studies to clarify the relationship.

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