What is included in patient education about trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019
  • Author: Manish K Singh, MD; Chief Editor: Robert A Egan, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients benefit from an explanation of the natural history of the disorder, including the possibility that the syndrome may remit spontaneously for months or even years before they need to consider long-term anticonvulsant medications. For this reason, some may elect to taper off their medication after the initial attack subsides; thus, they should be educated about the importance of being compliant with their medication regimen.

Patients also must be educated about the potential risks of anticonvulsant medications, such as sedation and ataxia, particularly in elderly patients, which may make driving or operating machinery hazardous. These drugs may also pose risks to the liver and the hematologic system. Document the discussion with the patient about these potential risks.

No specific preventative therapy exists. Patients may have a premonitory atypical pain for months; therefore, appropriate recognition of this pre–trigeminal neuralgia syndrome may lead to earlier and more efficient treatment.

Patients should avoid maneuvers that trigger pain. Once the diagnosis is established, advise them that dental extractions do not afford relief, even if pain radiates into the gums.

In patients wishing to undergo a procedure, they should be aware of potential adverse effects, as well as report any altered sensation in the face, especially after a procedure. They should be informed about the potential for anesthesia dolorosa.


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