New Drug May Help Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects in the Mouth

Cancer patients may find relief from painful sores in the mouth or throat due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments from a new drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Palifermin is an intravenous drug that is designed to help prevent or shorten the duration of mucositis in cancer patients.

Many cancer patients who develop this complication have trouble eating and swallowing, some to the point that they must receive nutrition and fluid replacement intravenously.

A study of palifermin showed that 98 percent of patients who didn't take the drug developed mucositis and the condition lasted for an average of nine days; 63 percent of patients taking the drug developed mucositis and the condition lasted for an average of three days.

Visit the American Dental Association online for more information on cancer patients and oral health: "www.ada.org/public/topics/cancer_treatment.asp".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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