Antidepressant eases radiation-related mouth pain in head, neck cancer

An oral rinse of the antidepressant doxepin significantly eased pain associated with oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck, a study led by Mayo Clinic found. The findings were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting in Boston.

"Oral mucositis or mouth sores is a painful and debilitating side effect of ," says principal investigator Robert Miller, M.D., a at Mayo Clinic. "Our findings represent a new standard of care for treating this condition."

Doxepin rinse does not cause the side effects associated with narcotic pain medicines, Dr. Miller says.

The Phase III study assessed the effectiveness of doxepin oral rinse versus placebo in 155 patients receiving radiation therapy for . Patients received a single blinded dose of doxepin on day one and crossed over to the opposite study arm on a subsequent day. Patients reported pain associated with oral mucositis on a pain questionnaire with a scale of 0 to 10 administered at baseline and then at five, 15, 30, 60, 120 and 240 minutes after rinsing with doxepin. Patients could continue doxepin after the study, and 64 percent did so. Doxepin was well tolerated, though stinging, burning, unpleasant taste and drowsiness were reported as side effects.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows zinc doesn't help head and neck cancer patients

Apr 02, 2007

Zinc sulfate, a supplement thought to be helpful in regaining the sense of taste for some head and neck cancer patients after radiation therapy, has been found to have no significant impact on preventing or curing taste alteration, ...

Crystalizing the foundations of better antihistamines

Nov 21, 2011

Researchers in Japan have solved the structure of a complex between the antihistamine drug doxepin and its target receptor histamine H1 receptor (H1R)1. Led by So Iwata of Kyoto University and the RIKEN Systems ...

Recommended for you

Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer

4 minutes ago

A new study shows that patients with stage I to stage III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood than those of patients who are at risk but do not have lung cancer. The study abstract ...

ACG: Recent increase in incidence of young-onset CRC

16 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing, and the disease is more aggressive pathologically. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American ...

User comments