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OTC Analgesic Gel Treats Oral Ulcers in Chemotherapy Patients

OTC Analgesic Gel Treats Oral Ulcers in Chemotherapy Patients

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.

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