New mouthwash might help alleviate pain

MILAN, Italy, — Italian scientists are studying a new type of mouthwash to see if it will help alleviate pain for patients suffering from head and neck cancer. Fifty patients,all suffering various forms of head and neck cancer, were observed during the course of their radiation therapy. Mucositis, or inflammation of the mouth’s mucous membrane, is the most common side effect for radiation therapy for such patients, yet no additional therapy has been identified to reduce the pain. The study sought to discover if a mouthwash made from the local anesthetic tetracaine might alleviate the discomfort and if there would be any negative side
effects. Researchers selected a tetracaine-based mouthwash instead of a lidocaine-based version, since it was found to be four times more effective, worked faster and produced prolonged relief. “Though our study is relatively small, we found the tetracaine-based mouthwash reduced oral pain, without any relevant side effects, in a sizeable number of our studied patients,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniela Alterio,a radiation oncologist at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.
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