Sumatriptan alleviates pain in patients with trigeminal neuralgia

Akifumi Kanai, Asaha Suzuki, Satoru Osawa, Sumio Hoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Arterial compression of the trigeminal root may lead to trigeminal neuralgia. 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists may inhibit vasodilation and inflammation near the irritated trigeminal root. A recent study showed attenuation of mechanical allodynia by a 5-HT1A receptor agonist in a rat model of trigeminal neuralgia. The present study examined the effectiveness of a 5-HT1A/1B/1D receptor agonist, sumatriptan, on pain relief in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. METHODS: The study was conducted in 15 patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. The patients had been suffering from painful paroxysms for at least 1 month. Each patient was injected with 1 mL of saline subcutaneously (placebo), followed 15 minutes later with subcutaneous sumatriptan (3 mg in 1 mL saline). This was followed the next day by oral sumatriptan (50 mg twice daily) for 1 week. RESULTS: The visual analog scale did not change after saline, but significantly decreased after subcutaneous sumatriptan. Both 1 week after oral sumatriptan and 1 week after discontinuation of the drug, visual analog scale scores resulted in a significant decrease from the baseline. Adverse events after subcutaneous sumatriptan occurred in 4 patients: fatigue in 4 and nausea in 2. Side effects from the oral medication appeared in 4 patients: fatigue in 2, nausea in 1 and chest discomfort in 1. These side effects subsided soon after discontinuation of sumatriptan. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that subcutaneous injection followed by oral administration of sumatriptan produces prompt and continuous analgesia in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-680
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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