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December 1980

Baclofen in Trigeminal Neuralgia Its Effect on the Spinal Trigeminal Nucleus: A Pilot Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Fromm, Terrence, and Chattha), and Pharmacology (Dr Glass), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and the Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Pittsburgh (Dr Terrence).

Arch Neurol. 1980;37(12):768-771. doi:10.1001/archneur.1980.00500610048007

• Experiments with cats showed that baclofen resembles carbamazepine and phenytoin sodium in its ability to depress excitatory synaptic transmission in the spinal trigeminal nucleus. Baclofen was, therefore, given to 14 patients with refractory trigeminal neuralgia. Ten patients were relieved of the paroxysms of tic douloureux while taking 60 to 80 mg/day of baclofen. A reduction in the dosage of baclofen in six of these patients resulted in a recurrence of painful paroxysms in five patients. Seven patients have been pain-free or almost pain-free on a regimen of baclofen for four to 12 months. Our results suggest that baclofen may be a useful drug in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia and that our experimental model may successfully predict the efficacy of a drug in the treatment of this condition.

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