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Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Dec 3;551(1-3):152-5. Epub 2006 Sep 16.

Evaluation of topical external medicine for 5-fluorouracil-induced oral mucositis in hamsters.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Neuroscience, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Shitsukawa Toon, Ehime, 791-0295, Japan.


Oral ulcerative mucositis is a common and painful toxicity associated with chemotherapy for cancer. Current treatment for chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis is largely palliative, and no adequate treatment with conclusive evidence exists. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the topical external medicines used in clinical settings, and the authors investigated the effects of 1% azulene ointment, 0.12% dexamethasone ointment, and polaprezinc-sodium alginate suspension on an animal model for oral mucositis induced by chemotherapy. Oral mucositis was induced in hamsters through a combination treatment of 5-fluorouracil and mild abrasion of the cheek pouch. Each drug was administered topically to the oral mucosa of hamsters, and the process of healing of damaged oral mucositis was examined by measuring the size of the mucositis. Azulene ointment did not reduce the size of the mucositis compared with the vaseline-treated control group. Polaprezinc-sodium alginate suspension significantly improved the recovery from 5-fluorouracil-induced damage. In contrast, local treatment with dexamethasone exacerbated the mucositis markedly. These results suggested the healing effect of polaprezinc-sodium alginate suspension and the risk of steroids to severe oral mucositis induced by chemotherapy.

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