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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 118

of 'Oral toxicity associated with chemotherapy'

Interventions for treating oral mucositis for patients with cancer receiving treatment.
Worthington HV, Clarkson JE, Eden OB
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;
BACKGROUND: Treatment of cancer is increasingly effective but associated with short and long-term side effects. Oral side effects, including oral mucositis (ulceration), remain a major source of illness despite the use of a variety of agents to treat them.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of interventions for treating oral mucositis or its associated pain in patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
SEARCH STRATEGY: Computerised searches of Cochrane Oral Health Group Specialised Register, CCTR, MEDLINE and EMBASE were undertaken. Reference lists from relevant articles were searched. Authors of eligible trials were contacted to identify trials and obtain additional information. Date of most recent searches: May 2001 (CCTR 2001, issue 3)
SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials comparing agents prescribed to treat oral mucositis in people receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Outcomes were oral mucositis, oral pain, dysphagia, systemic infection, amount of analgesia, length of hospitalisation, cost and quality of life.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data were independently extracted, in duplicate, by two reviewers. Authors were contacted for details of randomisation, blindness and withdrawals. Quality assessment was carried out on these three criteria. Cochrane Oral Health Group statistical guidelines were followed and relative risk values calculated using fixed effects models as no significant heterogeneity was detected (P>0.1).
MAIN RESULTS: Fifteen trials involving 876 patients satisfied the inclusion criteria. Two agents, each in single trials, were found to be effective for improving (allopurinol RR=0.63 95%CI 0.42 to 0.96) or eradicating mucositis (allopurinol RR=0.59 95%CI 0.42 to 0.84; vitamin E RR=0.38 95%CI 0.14 to 0.97). The following agents were not found to be effective: benzydamine HCl, sucralfate, tetrachlorodecaoxide, chlorhexidine and "magic" (lidocaine solution, diphenhydramine hydrochloride and aluminum hydroxide suspension). Three trials compared patient controlled analgesia (PCA) to the continuous infusion method for controlling pain. There was no evidence of a difference, however, less opiate was used per hour for PCA. One trial demonstrated that pharmacokinetically based analgesia (PKPCA) reduced pain compared with PCA, however more opiate was used with PKCA.
REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There is weak and unreliable evidence that allopurinol mouthwash and vitamin E improves or eradicates mucositis. There is no evidence that patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is better than continuous infusion method for controlling pain, however, less opiate was used per hour for PCA. Further, well designed, placebo-controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of allopurinol mouthwash, vitamin E and new interventions for treating mucositis are needed.
Oral Health and Development, University Dental Hospital of Manchester, Higher Cambridge Street, Manchester, UK, M15 6FH. helen.worthington@man.ac.uk