Oral Mucositis: Melatonin Gel an Effective New Treatment
BACKGROUND Oral mucositis occurs in patients undergoing chemoradiation for cancer treatment. It is believed that colonization of ulcerated mucosa by bacteria, fungi, and virus results in secondary infections. The effect of chlorhexidine on the incidence and severity of oral mucositis in patients with cancer was evaluated in this review. METHODS Studies were limited to randomized placebo-controlled trials. Three databases were searched: MEDLINE (via PubMed), Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library up to May 25, 2016. RESULTS Ninety-eight abstracts were evaluated by three independent reviewers. Twelve studies met the criteria for inclusion. Four of these studies were assessed at unclear risk of bias and eight of them at high risk. Of the 12 studies, nine were included in two meta-analyses. Pooled results showed that chlorhexidine did not significantly reduce incidence of mucositis compared to placebo (P = 0.129), nor chlorhexidine did significantly reduce the severity of mucositis (P = 0.127), although subgroup analysis in the chemotherapy group showed a trend toward significance (P = 0.054). Side effects reported in the included studies were teeth staining and altered taste perception. CONCLUSIONS This systematic review found that chlorhexidine is not significantly effective in reducing the severity of mucositis (moderate quality of evidence) nor in preventing the incidence of mucositis (low quality of evidence). However, more studies are needed in patients receiving chemotherapy only, as a positive trend toward significance was found (P = 0.054).