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Keywords:

  • benzydamine;
  • mucositis;
  • prophylaxis;
  • radiotherapy;
  • head and neck cancers

We evaluated the efficacy of benzydamine oral rinse for prevention of radiation-induced mucositis. Patients with head and neck cancers, who were referred in 2004–2005, received an oral rinse of either benzydamine or placebo. One hundred patients were randomized in this trial. At the end of the study, 19 patients were excluded from the analysis because they did not use the medication for the assigned period. In the benzydamine group, the frequency of mucositis grade ≥3 was 43.6% in contrast to 78.6% in other group (P = 0.001). Grade ≥3 mucositis was 2.6 times more frequent in the placebo group. Intensity of mucositis increased up to fourth week of treatment in both groups to grade 2. In the treated group the grade of mucositis was approximately constant to the end of therapy; but in the control group it raised to grade 3 (P < 0.001). The highest grade of mucositis during the treatment time was significantly different between two groups (P = 0.049). The median interval to observation of grade ≥2 mucositis was 24 days in the placebo group and 28 days in the benzydamine group (P = 0.12). Benzydamine oral rinse seems to be effective, safe, and well tolerated for prophylactic treatment of radiation-induced oral mucositis in head and neck tumours.