THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GKS) appears to be an effective option for the long-term management of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 in San Diego.
Tejan P. Diwanji, of the University of Maryland in Baltimore, and colleagues treated 13 MS patients with TN with GKS between 1998 and 2001 and followed them for a median of 67 months after treatment.
The investigators found that the median time to pain relief was one week. Six patients discontinued their TN-related medications. However, none of the patients who had no TN symptom relief after GKS were able to reduce or discontinue TN-related medications. The median duration of pain relief for patients that responded to the first GKS was 36 months. Actuarial freedom from treatment failure was 42.9 percent at one and three years and 28.6 percent at five years. No treatment-related complications were observed. Only one patient experienced transient numbness after GKS, and another experienced moderately bothersome new facial numbness.
"Our data suggest that GKS remains a satisfactory treatment option because of the relatively favorable toxicity profile in MS patients compared to other treatment modalities," the authors write.