Purpose: To determine whether a chlorhexidine mouthwash could alleviate radiation-induced oral mucositis. Patients and Methods: Patients scheduled to receive radiation therapy to include greater than one third of the oral cavity mucosa were selected for study. Following stratification, they were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive a chlorhexidine mouthwash or a placebo mouthwash. Both groups were then similarly evaluated for mucositis and mouthwash toxicity. Results: Twenty-five patients were randomized to receive the chlorhexidine mouthwash, while 27 received the placebo mouthwash. Treatment arms were well balanced. There was a trend for more mucositis and there was substantially more toxicity (eg, mouthwash-induced discomfort, taste alteration, and teeth staining) on the chlorhexidine arm. Conclusion: In contrast to the prestudy hypothesis that a chlorhexidine mouthwash might provide benefit for patients receiving radiation therapy to the oral mucosa, this study provides strong evidence suggesting that a chlorhexidine mouthwash is detrimental in this clinical situation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research