Few drugs are registered for treatment of neuropathic facial pain (NFP), and not much is known about treatment choices for NFP in daily practice. Patients with NFP were identified in the IPCI-database with longitudinal electronic general practitioner (GP) records. We described prescription patterns of pain medication following first symptoms. Off-label, off-guideline use, failure and reasons for failure were assessed. Failure was defined as treatment switch, exacerbation, adverse event, or invasive treatment for NFP. Of 203 NFP cases, 160 (79%) received pharmacological pain treatment. Most patients (90%) were initially treated by a GP with anti-epileptic drugs (55%) or NSAIDs (16%) as monotherapy. The median treatment delay was 0 days (range 0 to 2,478 days). Adverse events were experienced by 16 (10%) of patients. Sixty-two percent of first prescriptions were in adherence to guidelines and 59% were considered on-label while 34% of prescriptions were both off-label and off-guideline. Of the first therapy, 38% failed within 3 months. The median duration until failure was 251 days. General practitioners usually are the first to treat NFP. They usually prescribe drugs licensed for NFP and according to guidelines, but the extent of off-label use is substantial. Initial treatment often failed within a short period after starting therapy. Perspective: This drug-utilization study describes the pharmacological treatment of different forms of neuropathic facial pain in daily practice. Although treatment is mostly initiated rapidly by general practitioners in a correct way, it often contains off-label or off-guideline medication. Failure of the initial treatment is common and occurs rapidly as well.

Drug utilization study, general population, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, postherpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2009.07.001, hdl.handle.net/1765/28529
The Journal of Pain
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Koopman, J.S.H.A, Huygen, F.J.P.M, Dieleman, J.P, de Mos, M, & Sturkenboom, M.C.J.M. (2010). Pharmacological Treatment of Neuropathic Facial Pain in the Dutch General Population. The Journal of Pain, 11(3), 264–272. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2009.07.001