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Fibromyalgia Drug May Ease Facial Pain

Posted: July 20, 2009

A small Spanish study has indicated the effectiveness of the drug pregabalin in treating facial pain.

Results of a small study suggest that the drug pregabalin, which is sold as Lyrica, can reduce stabbing facial pain and other symptoms stemming from a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. The condition occurs in the trigeminal nerve, which affects perceptions of touch, pain and temperature in the face and jaw. People with trigeminal neuralgia experience shock-like or stabbing facial pain that may be triggered by everyday motions such as talking, tooth brushing or chewing. Few medications relieve the condition.

"Our findings suggest that pregabalin could be a first choice therapy when treating painful trigeminal neuralgia under real-world conditions, because it not only reduces the pain, but also its benefits extend to the associated symptoms of anxiety and depression and sleep disturbance-related symptoms in a well-tolerated fashion," lead investigator Dr. Concepcion Perez told Reuters Health.

Pregabalin, a drug that calms nerve cells, gained U.S. regulatory approval last year to treat another pain condition called fibromyalgia.

Dr. Perez, of Hospital de La Princesa in Madrid, and colleagues examined the effect of pregabalin in 65 patients with trigeminal neuralgia who had not received the agent before and had been resistant to previous analgesic therapy. Of this group, 36 received pregabalin alone and the remaining 29 used it in addition to their current therapy, mainly with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.