How is hemifacial spasm treated?

Hemifacial spasm may be treated with oral drugs, injections of botulinum toxin type A (Botox®), or surgery.

Drugs used to treat hemifacial spasm include:

  • Clonazepam® (Klonopin).
  • Baclofen® (Lioresal).
  • Tegretol® (Carbamazepine).

Drugs, however, are often ineffective and may have unwanted side effects.

Botox treatment involves injecting tiny amounts of botulinum toxin into the affected muscles of the patient’s face, primarily around the eye. The injections will temporarily weaken the muscles, relieving the spasms. The effects of Botox last approximately 3 to 6 months.

Surgery may be ordered by a doctor if medications and Botox are unsuccessful. The most common procedure is called microvascular decompression (MVD), which involves approaching the facial nerve as it exits from the brain. MVD can resolve hemifacial spasm in most patients. It can safely be repeated if symptoms come back or if the initial procedure is ineffective.

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