Palliation of radiation-related mucositis


  • Bruce R. Rothwell DMD, MSD,

    1. Dr. Bruce R. Rothwell is chief of the department of dentistry, University of Washington Medical Center, director of the General Practice Residency, and associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, School of Dentistry, University of Washington. Ste B204, SC-62 Seattle 98195.
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  • Wendy Schultz Spektor DDS

    1. Dr. Wendy Schultz Spektor is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Dentistry and is currently in private practice in Bellevue. Washington. Address requests for reprints to Dr. Rothwell
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Oral mucositis associated with head and neck radiotherapy can substantially hinder completion of cancer therapy. Alleviation of this often severe stomatitis can provide enhanced patient comfort and facilitate appropriate care.

A double-blind format was used in a pilot project to measure, against a control rinse, the effectiveness of an oral rinse consisting of hydrocortisone, nystatin, tetracycline, and diphenhydramine in controlling radiation-related mucositis. A combination of clinical evaluation and patient responses to a questionnaire was used to judge the results of the topical medications.

Patients using the experimental medication developed less mucositis than did patients in the control group.