Real-world effectiveness and tolerability of carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine in 354 patients with trigeminal neuralgia.
It is widely agreed that carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are highly effective in the long-term treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. However, the tolerability of these drugs across the different aetiologies of trigeminal neuralgia is still undetermined.In this retrospective, real-world study, we assessed the effectiveness and tolerability of carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine in a large cohort of patients with classical (254 patients), secondary (60 patients) and idiopathic (40 patients) trigeminal neuralgia. We analysed data using a propensity score analysis to account for selection bias; frequencies of side effects associated to carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine were calculated by adjusting data with the inverse probability of treatment weighting.The initial proportion of responders was 88.3% with carbamazepine, and 90.9% with oxcarbazepine. The number of refractory patients was significantly higher in idiopathic (15%) and secondary forms (27%) than in classical trigeminal neuralgia (6%), (p<0.05). In 53 patients treated with carbamazepine (29.6%) and in 22 treated with oxcarbazepine (12.6%), major side effects caused treatment interruption or dosage reduction to an unsatisfactory level. Side effects occurred more frequently in patients treated with carbamazepine (43.6%) than with oxcarbazepine (30.3%, p<0.0001). The frequency of treatment discontinuation was higher in patients with secondary and idiopathic forms than in those with classical trigeminal neuralgia (p<0.05).Our real-world study show that carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are effective in most patients with trigeminal neuralgia; nevertheless, side effects are still a major issue, particularly in patients with secondary and idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.