X-rays of the arteries with a dye (conventional angiography)
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. Antidepressants may help certain people.
In severe cases, when pain is difficult to treat, surgery to take pressure off the glossopharyngeal nerve may be needed. This is called microvascular decompression. 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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
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.
Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.