Carbamazepine and Trigeminal NeuralgiaTrigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, is a condition affecting the trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve), one of the largest nerves in the head. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes.
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms are characterized by a sudden, severe, electric shock-like or stabbing pain, typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. The attacks of pain, which generally last for several seconds and may be repeated one after the other, may be triggered by:
- Brushing the teeth
- Touching the face
The exact causes of trigeminal neuralgia are not known. However, certain factors (such as physical nerve damage and stress) can trigger the beginning of the painful trigeminal neuralgia attacks.
Treatment for trigeminal neuralgia includes medication or surgery. Carbamazepine is one of the medications commonly used to treat trigeminal neuralgia.
How Does Carbamazepine Work?Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring, brief changes in how the brain's electrical system works. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms). It is not known exactly how carbamazepine works to prevent partial seizures in people with epilepsy. It may work by blocking sodium channels in the brain. By blocking sodium channels, carbamazepine may decrease the activity of nerve cells, preventing them from firing abnormally. Carbamazepine may also prevent the abnormal brain signals from spreading to other parts of the brain.
It is thought that carbamazepine works to treat trigeminal neuralgia by blocking the nerve signals that cause pain and other unpleasant sensations.
It is not known how exactly carbamazepine works for bipolar disorder treatment. Carbamazepine affects several different brain chemicals, though it is not known if this is how carbamazepine works to treat bipolar disorder.