A new study in Japan has found migraine medication sumatriptan, known by the brand names Imitrex or Imigran, can provide relief for pain due to trigeminal neuralgia up to eight hours.
Now researchers have found that a migraine medication could provide relief for people who suffer from, trigeminal neuralgia. Researchers had injected the drug and found it produced rapid and significant pain relief without serious adverse reactions.
Pain experienced with trigeminal neuralgia that affects the nerves in the face, sometimes known as tic douloureux, comes in lightning-like stabs that radiate from the angle of the jaw to the front of the face. The shocks are momentary but can repeat for several seconds. Paroxysms may last for hours, and then subside for long periods. This pain is often considered as one of the severest pains. Compression of the root of the trigeminal nerves by an artery is thought to cause trigeminal neuralgia.
Dr Akifumi Kanai and colleagues from Kitasato University School of Medicine explained this in the journal of Headache. The team led by Dr Kanai's examined the possible effectiveness of a subcutaneous injection of sumatriptan compared with saline in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia in 24 patients. According to investigators, it was found to significantly decrease pain scores on a 0-10 scale from 8.3 to 2.4, according to the investigators. Pain scores did not change with placebo injection. Twenty patients described their pain as moderately or slightly better after sumatriptan treatment as compared with only one patient after being injected with saline injection. The analgesic effect of sumatriptan lasted for 1 to 20 hours, averaging 7.9 hours overall.
Dr Julio Pascual of University Hospital in Salamanca, Spain, in his editorial explained that the rapid onset of relief is plus, but subcutaneous injections that should be given at least twice a day would be a drawback. He went to suggest that sumatriptan might be ideal as short-term treatment until oral drugs begin to work, or as rescue treatment. He also stated that he would like to see if other "triptans" that can be delivered orally or by nasal spray would work for trigeminal neuralgia.