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Keywords:

  • Nerve blocks;
  • trigeminal neuralgia;
  • peripheral blockade;
  • orofacial neuropathic pain

SYNOPSIS

This study investigated the long term effect of a peripheral sensory block using streptomycin sulphate on trigeminal neuralgia. A total of twenty subjects, thirteen with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (ITN) and seven with traumatic trigeminal neuralgia (TTN) were studied. A double-blind placebo controlled randomized design was used. After the clinical assessment subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 1 g of streptomycin with 3 ml 2% lidocaine, or 3 ml lidocaine alone. The injections were performed adjacent to the branches that served the painful site. These were intraoral injections, more specifically infraorbital and inferior alveolar blocks. Patients received five blocks of either streptomycin/lidocaine or lidocaine alone for a period of five consecutive weeks. On the sixth week they were crossed over. Measures of pain intensity and pain frequency were used to assess treatment outcome. Patients also recorded their side-effects. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare the treatment outcomes between the active and placebo groups. There was no statistically significant differences in the treatment outcomes regarding frequency and intensity of pain attacks. The sensory function of the treated nerves was also not affected. Side effects including facial swelling and pain were a common finding in the patients receiving streptomycin. This study demostrated no beneficial effects of streptomycin blockade for idiopathic and traumatic trigeminal neuralgia.