Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), or extreme, sudden facial pain associated with the 5th cranial nerve, occurs frequently in patients who have received a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis.
In a survey with 8,590 respondents, around 10% with MS were already diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.
Eighty-eight of those individuals stated that the TN occurred or was diagnosed before MS. Furthermore, about 18% of respondents were diagnosed with both TN and MS within the same year.
Out of those surveyed, 35 years of age is the average age of a person with TN without any prior MS diagnosis. That is in comparison to those who were diagnosed with both diseases in the same year. In this group, 47 years of age was the average age in which they were diagnosed with TN.
Based on the survey, there are factors that are linked to a higher likelihood of a person having trigeminal neuralgia. These include the following:
- Being a woman
- Having another disease with a longer duration
- Having a disability that is greater than TN
- Reporting more impairments in vision, cognition, fatigue, and hand function
Although there is a higher prevalence of TN in MS, Dr. Elisabeth Lucassen states that none of her patients with TN had MS first. Dr. Lucassen specializes in Neurology and is not associated with the study. The findings from the survey will help neurologists understand that there are alternative causes of TN like MS.The study aids in supporting and managing patients who have both TN and MS.