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Ann Pharmacother. 2000 Mar;34(3):300-3.

Oral glutamine for the prevention of oral mucositis associated with high-dose paclitaxel and melphalan for autologous bone marrow transplantation.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Louisiana at Monroe, USA.



To determine the effect of glutamine suspension on mucositis associated with the administration of high-dose preparative regimens for bone marrow transplantation.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 21 consecutive patients receiving high-dose paclitaxel and melphalan as the preparative regimen for autologous peripheral blood stem-cell transplantation for metastatic breast cancer between January 1997 and December 1997. Glutamine suspension was given as swish-and-swallow administration every four hours around the clock starting day-7, for a total dose of 24 g/d.


The group given oral glutamine suspension demonstrated significantly fewer days of mucositis and a lower maximum grade of mucositis. The treatment group also had fewer days of parenteral morphine for pain relief. The group that did not receive glutamine required an average of 5.22 days of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) morphine; the glutamine group did not require PCA morphine. The total days of narcotic pain relief were decreased in the glutamine group; however, this did not reach statistical significance. Qualitatively, the patients in the glutamine group had less oral ulceration and bleeding, and were able to tolerate liquids sooner than those in the nonglutamine group. Patients tolerated the glutamine suspension well.


This study showed that around-the-clock administration of oral glutamine may decrease both the severity and duration of mucositis associated with high-dose bone marrow transplant preparative regimens. The decrease in severity and duration of mucositis translated into reduced parenteral narcotic use. A prospective, randomized, controlled trial is needed to determine future applications of glutamine in the support of patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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