Chlorhexidine prophylaxis for chemotherapy- and radiotherapy-induced stomatitis: a randomized double-blind trial.Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1990 Mar; 69(3):331-8.OS
Patients receiving cytotoxic antineoplastic therapy often have treatment-associated stomatitis. A 0.12% chlorhexidine digluconate mouthrinse was evaluated (15 ml, three times a day) in a prospective, double-blind randomized trial as prophylaxis against cytotoxic therapy-induced damage to oral soft tissues. Seventy subjects, forty inpatients receiving high-dose chemotherapy and thirty outpatients receiving high-dose head and neck radiation therapy, were evaluated. Chlorhexidine mouthrinse significantly reduced the incidence of oral mucositis in the chemotherapy group on day 14 (p less than 0.02) and at 1 week follow-up on day 28 (p less than 0.002). Mucositis in the patients undergoing chemotherapy who received chlorhexidine also resolved more rapidly. Mucositis severity was significantly less compared to the control chemotherapy group on day 14 (p less than 0.03), day 21 (p less than 0.04), and on 1 week follow-up (p less than 0.02). Concomitant trends in the reduction in oral streptococci and yeast were noted in the chemotherapy group receiving chlorhexidine mouthrinse. Although no differences were observed in oral mucositis between the control and chlorhexidine groups of patients undergoing high-dose radiotherapy, similar reductions of oral microflora to those seen in the chemotherapy population were also noted for patients undergoing radiation therapy who received chlorhexidine. Although generally not significant, some increase in gram-negative bacilli was noted in the chlorhexidine-treated patients in both the chemotherapy and radiotherapy groups, but there was no correlation with increased systemic infection. Prophylactic chlorhexidine mouthrinse reduces oral mucositis and microbial burden in patients with cancer undergoing intensive chemotherapy.