Botox May Ease Facial Pain
Benefits Lasted for 60 Days in Small Study
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 24, 2005 -- A shot of Botox may ease a type of facial pain called
trigeminal neuralgia, doctors report.
Trigeminal neuralgia is also called "tic doulourex." It's marked by
intense, stabbing facial pain.
Botox contains a tiny dose of the botulinum-A toxin. Besides its cosmetic
uses against wrinkles, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) pain.
The new Botox study was short and small. It included 13 trigeminal neuralgia
patients in Brazil.
The results justify a bigger, longer trial, write the researchers. They
included E.J. Piovesan, MD, a neurologist at the Hospital de Clinicas da
Universidade Federal do Parana in Curitiba, Panama.
The study appears in Neurology.
Before Botox, all patients reported severe facial pain from their trigeminal
neuralgia. Then, they got one Botox treatment targeting the affected facial
Facial pain eased in all 13 patients over the next 60 days, the researchers
Ten days after Botox treatment, patients' reports showed a significant drop
in facial pain. Twenty days after treatment, patients were "almost symptom
free," write the researchers.
Pain intensity dropped, and all patients curbed their use of preventive
medications for their facial pain.
Four patients quit using those medications. The other patients cut their use
of medications for facial pain by more than half, the study shows.
Botox didn't seem to have any bad interactions with those other medicines.
It also didn't appear to make those drugs more effective, the researchers
Two Months of Relief
The effects of Botox on facial pain lasted for 60 days. That's when the
How much longer might the benefits have lasted? The researchers don't
"Our patients should have been followed for a longer period of time, so
that the precise duration of the effects of [Botox] could be determined,"
write Piovesan and colleagues.