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Herbal extract promises pain relief for oral cancer therapy.

Kamillosan, an extract of the camomile plant, whose civilizations, helps prevent and control a common painful oral condition that frequently is a side effect of cancer radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Researchers with the State University of New York at Buffalo and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute reported in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry that Kamillosan recudes the intensity of, and can prevent, mucositis.

When used prophlactically as an oral rinse, Kamillosan prevented or reduced the intensity of mucositis in 78 percent of 46 patients on various systemic chemotherapeutic agents and 19 of 20 head-and-neck cancer patients receiving radiation.

There was a dramatic improvement within a few days in 32 patients receiving chemotherapy who were treated therapeutically after early to severe mucositis had developed.

The study was conducted by William Carl, D.D.S., clinical associates professor of fixed prosthodontics in University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and senior cancer dental surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the late Lawrence S. Emrich, Ph.D., University of Buffalo associate professor of biometry.

While Kamillosan is available in Europe as an herbal preparation, its use in the United States is limited to experimental studies. "Before it can be used in the U.S. for its medicinal properties in mouthrinse form, it must clear the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," Carl noted. He said that multicenter studies are planned to define more precisely the best mouthrinse formulation for cancer patients.

He said oral mucositis is a temporary but usually painful condition that may develop during radiation for cancer in the oral cavity or systemic chemotherapy for other malignancies.

Unlike gingivitis or gum disease, mucositis is not caused by bacteria in the mouth.

But it can provide a a focus where oral or even systemic infections may originate, frequently making it difficult for patients to perform routine oral and dental care.

"The redness, soreness and pain mucositis produces also decreases patients' desire to eat at a time when good nutrition is essential," Carl added.

Although several types of mouthrinses have been used to ease pain and soreness of mucositis in patients undergoing cancer therapy, he noted that none have been entirely satisfactory.

Mouthrinses used as adjunct treatment for gum disease are too harsh, and milder alternatives aren't very effective.

"The amber-colored rinse, which patients used three times a day, has a pleasant taste, much like camomile tea," Carl said.
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Title Annotation:kamillosan
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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