Scientists Develop Film Strip to Treat Oral Burns

A pharmaceutical, biomedical engineering research team has developed a dissolvable oral strip that may relieve pain from burns caused by ingestion of hot foods and liquids such as coffee, pizza and soup, although it is yet to be tested in humans.

The strip, applied directly to the burned part of the tongue, cheek or roof of the mouth, sticks to the affected area and quickly dissolves to relieve pain and promote healing, the research team said.

Jason McConville, Ph.D., University of New Mexico and colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin described the “Dissolvable Strip for Treatment of Oral Thermal Burns” in a poster presentation at the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists annual meeting and exposition. They designed the strip for controlled delivery of a local anesthetic, benzocaine, and a therapeutic polymer.

“The film is designed to instantly release benzocaine upon adhesion to the affected areas of the mouth and continue to release sufficient quantities for pain relief over an extended period of time,” the study concluded. “The amount of Poloxamer 188 is also proposed to be sufficient for alleviating long-term symptoms of minor burns. Additionally, all materials used are relatively inexpensive. It is proposed that this film could successfully promote instant, prolonged and affordable relief from the pain caused by oral burns.”

Benzocaine, which is used as a topical pain reliever in dental products and throat lozenges, was chosen for its non-irritating, readily available and non-toxic properties, the researchers said. The next step in furthering their research will be to test the strips in humans and experiment with taste-masking.

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