Paroxysmal extreme pain disorder (PEPD), previously known as familial rectal pain (FRP, or OMIM 167400), is an inherited condition characterized by paroxysms of rectal, ocular, or submandibular pain with flushing. A genome-wide linkage search followed by mutational analysis of the candidate gene SCN9A, which encodes hNa(v)1.7, identified eight missense mutations in 11 families and 2 sporadic cases. Functional analysis in vitro of three of these mutant Na(v)1.7 channels revealed a reduction in fast inactivation, leading to persistent sodium current. Other mutations in SCN9A associated with more negative activation thresholds are known to cause primary erythermalgia (PE). Carbamazepine, a drug that is effective in PEPD, but not PE, showed selective block of persistent current associated with PEPD mutants, but did not affect the negative activation threshold of a PE mutant. PEPD and PE are allelic variants with distinct underlying biophysical mechanisms and represent a separate class of peripheral neuronal sodium channelopathy.