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Oral Oncol. 2001 Dec;37(8):632-7.

Oral topical doxepin rinse: analgesic effect in patients with oral mucosal pain due to cancer or cancer therapy.

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  • 1Department of Dentistry, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Oral mucositis is a treatment limiting toxicity of cancer therapy. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of doxepin oral rinse in the management of oral mucosal pain in cancer patients. Forty-one cancer patients with oral mucosal pain were provided a solution of doxepin (0.5%) for oral rinsing. Oral pain was assessed prior to rinsing, and following rinsing for 4 h using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Adverse effects were recorded. Doxepin rinse resulted in a reduction of pain intensity of more than 50%, with pain relief extending for more than 3 h with pain not returning to baseline 4 h after rinsing. The rinse was tolerated by patients with mucosal damage, and had acceptable taste, and infrequent mucosal stinging with use. Some patients reported sedation after use, likely due to systemic absorption. The results of this single dose trial suggest that topical doxepin rinse has significant ability to provide clinically significant pain relief in patients with mucosal damage with an extended duration of effect.

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