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Posted by CCF Neuro MD on July 13, 1997 at 21:59:43:
In Reply to: tegretol xr posted by Jane on July 05, 1997 at 23:42:43:
Does anyone know how tegretol xr (extended release) works for trigeminal neuralgia? Been taking tegretol for it and having a rough time of it. Wondering if the extended release is any better. Love a response! Thanks.
Tegretol has been widely accepted as a first line medicine in treating trigeminal neuralgia. About 75% of patients respond. How it works has been a research focus for quite long time. Up to now, it is still unclear of the exact mechanism of action. One of the thoughts is that since trigeminal neuralgia is associated with hyperstimulation and hyperactivity of the branches of trigeminal nerve, a cell membrane stabilizer like tegretol would work well.
As far as the side effects, vertigo, drowsiness, and unsteady gait (ataxia) are the commom ones. In addition, double vision and diarrhea are also sometimes reported by patients. In general, all the side effects are more frequent to occur in elderly patient population. The way to derease the frequency of side effects is to start the medication slowly, 50-100 mg to start with then gradually go up as tolerated. Therapeutic doses generally range from 600 to 1200 mg per day. Once the pain is controlled completely, the dose can be decreased gradually to the pain free level. If someone is not tolerating the side effects of tegretol, or not pain free with therapeutic level, there are other drugs to choose, including dilantin, baclofen, and clonazepam.
Unfortunately, I was not able to locate any well controled study that compared regular with extended release form of tegretol on the effectiveness of treating TN. I will share that with you if anything comes up later.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only. Please consult your physician for the diagnostic and treatment options of your specific medical condition.
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