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Treating Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Many options are available to treat pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.
(continued)

New Frontiers in Treatment continued...

UTSW, along with two other centers, will soon be launching a small study involving about 40 patients with MS to assess whether Botox can indeed relieve the stabbing pain of trigeminal neuralgia. "There are no systemic side effects, only mild local facial weakness. The biggest drawback is that you can only inject it in a limited area, so even if we do find that it's effective against MS pain, Botox will certainly not replace any of the medications we currently have. But it may be used in very specific conditions like trigeminal neuralgia," Hawker says.

Kraft, meanwhile, has recently begun a study looking at a very different approach to MS pain: hypnosis. "It's well known that there is a 'gating' mechanism in the higher cognitive parts of the brain to let signals come through to the consciousness. There can be all kinds of mischief in the pain fibers in the spinal cord, but it has to get through to the cortex before it's painful," he says. "With hypnosis, we hope to block or at least reduce the interpretation of that stimulus as a painful stimulus. It looks promising so far, and obviously it doesn't have the problem of medication side effects."

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Reviewed on February 17, 2004
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