Cancer patients who suffer from the debilitating side effect of oral
ulcers as a result of chemotherapy can be effectively treated with
Zilactin-B, a nonprescription analgesic gel containing hydroxypropyl
cellulose and benzocaine, according to an article published in the Compendium
of Clinical Education in Dentistry.
Oral ulcers can make eating and drinking a painful experience. They
can also lead to systemic infection, a diminished sense of
well-being, decreased or interrupted chemotherapy, longer hospital
stays, and increased cost of treatment.
In the April 1999 article, Spencer W. Redding, DDS, MeD, and Carl W.
Haverman, DDS, of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at
San Antonio concluded that the over-the-counter analgesic gel reduces
the pain associated with oral inflammation for 3 hours on average.
Their research showed that some patients experience pain relief for
up to 6 hours.
A Protective Film to Relieve Discomfort
Dr. Redding, associate dean for advanced education and hospital
affairs, and Dr. Haverman, DDS, assistant professor, Department of
General Dentistry, write: The conclusions of this study were
that the hydroxypropyl cellulose gel with benzocaine provided a
protective muco-adherent film that relieved discomfort for at least 3
hours in patients who developed oral ulceration secondary to cancer
chemotherapy. It was concluded that this treatment would allow
patients with chemotherapy-induced ulcers to drink and eat with
significantly diminished pain or no pain&ldots;..
Because chemotherapy patients often have large ulcers in
hard-to-reach intraoral areas, a health care provider may have to
apply Zilactin-B gel. In the case of outpatients, family members can
be trained to apply the gel.