Cranial mononeuropathy IX
The goal of treatment is to control pain. Over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are not very effective for relieving glossopharyngeal neuralgia.
The most effective drugs are antiseizure medications, such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, and phenytoin. Some antidepressants, such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline, may help certain people.
In severe cases, when pain is difficult to treat, surgery to take pressure off the glossopharyngeal nerve may be needed. Or, the nerve can be cut (rhizotomy). Both surgeries are generally considered effective. If a cause of the neuralgia is found, treatment should control the underlying problem.
How well you do depends on the cause of the problem and the effectiveness of the first treatment. Surgery is considered effective for people who do not benefit from medications.
Slow pulse and fainting may occur when pain is severe.
Medications used to treat this condition can have side effects.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of glossopharyngeal neuralgia. See a pain specialist if the pain is severe to be sure that you are aware of all your options for controlling pain.
Cutrer FM, Moskowitz MA. Headaches and other head pain. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 421.
Ferroli P, Fioravanti A, Schiariti M, Tringali G, Franzini A, Calbucci F, Broggi G. Microvascular decompression for glossopharyngeal neuralgia: a long-term retrospectic review of the Milan-Blogna experience in 31 consecutive cases. Acta Neuochir (Wien). 2009;151:1245-1250.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885