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Mouthwash reduces radiation-induced oral mucositis pain among patients with head and neck cancer

A mouthwash consisting of diphenhydramine, lidocaine and antacids significantly reduces oral mucositis pain when used in patients receiving radiation therapy for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Researchers assigned 275 patients with head and neck cancer being treated with an oral mucositis pain score > 3 to be treated with doxepin mouthwash or placebo ~ 2-3 weeks after initiation of therapy. All patients were undergoing treatment with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation.

Results showed those who received the mouthwash experienced an 11.7-point decrease in mucositis pain during the first 4 hours after treatment, compared an 8.7-point decrease with placebo.

This is the second clinical trial showing that doxepin mouthwash relieved chemoradiotherapy-related oral mucositis pain.


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Sio TT, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3504.

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