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Drug May Help in Treatment of Radiation-Induced Xerostomia

Drug May Help in Treatment of Radiation Induced Xerostomia While the drug pilocarpine has long been used to treat dry mouth and glaucoma, researchers from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, recently investigated its use in addressing radiation induced xerostomia among

Drug May Help in Treatment of Radiation-Induced Xerostomia

While the drug pilocarpine has long been used to treat dry mouth and glaucoma, researchers from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, recently investigated its use in addressing radiation-induced xerostomia among patients with head and neck cancer. This analysis may be key to understanding optimal treatment for patients undergoing radiation.

Results of a systematic search, comprising both meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials, were published in the article, “Efficacy and Safety of Pilocarpine for Radiation-Induced Xerostomia in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer,” in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. The review found clinically sound evidence that pilocarpine provides statistically significant benefits to patients who experience radiation-induced xerostomia due to head and neck cancer treatment. Side effects of the drug were mild, with sweating being the most commonly reported. The authors suggested that patients experiencing radiation-induced xerostomia take 5 mg of pilocarpine up to three times daily to address their symptoms. The authors noted, however, that their review included few studies that qualified as best available evidence and that more research on the subject is warranted.

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter

May 2016

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