Oral mucositis is a painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucosal membranes in the mouth. It is a frequent side effect of cancer treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. In severe cases, oral mucositis may be treatment-limiting, causing a reduction in dosage or delays in the delivery of therapy.
Oral mucositis can in advanced stages be extremely painful, preventing the patient from eating and requiring hospitalisation for re-hydration, opioid pain medication, and total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
The destruction of the protective mucous membrane may further place the patient at a serious risk of infection.
40-75% of chemotherapy patients suffer from oral mucositis (Ref. 1-5).
Over 90% of head and neck cancer patients develop oral mucositis (Ref. 1-5).
Up to 100% of bone marrow transplant patients are affected by oral mucositis (Ref. 1-5).
Patients with oral mucositis are four times more likely to have unplanned breaks in radiotherapy and over three times more likely to be hospitalised which results in significant health care costs (Ref. 6).
Patients with OM are 6 times more likely to require reduced dosages of chemotherapy (Ref. 6).
OM imparts a 4-fold increased risk of unplanned breaks in radiation therapy and a 3.4-fold risk of breaks or delays in chemotherapy (Ref. 6).
Up to one fifth of patients with OM require total parenteral nutrition, with one study finding that a third of patients with grade 3-4 OM required a gastrostomy tube (Ref. 6).
Grades of oral mucositis
There are several oral mucositis degree scales available for clinicians. One of the most commonly used scales was developed by The World Health Organization (WHO). WHO scale combines both objective mucosal changes (redness and ulceration) with functional outcomes (ability to eat) to arrive at a score.
In a clinical study, episil® oral liquid has been shown to decrease the severity and duration of oral mucositis in the group of patients using episil® liquid in comparison with the group receiving standard care. Access clinical data here to learn more about the results of the study.
Consequences of oral mucositis
Oral mucositis doesn’t just cause pain; it has a large pharmacoeconomic impact. The condition can lead to:
Discontinuation of cancer treatment
Inability to eat, drink, swallow and speak
Dehydration and malnutrition
Use of opioid analgesics
Decrease in the patient’s quality of life
episil® oral liquid has been developed to protect sore oral mucosal surfaces and reduce pain, thereby helping patients to maintain their nutritional status during cancer therapy. This may reduce the need for total parenteral nutrition, opioid analgesics and therapy interruptions, and result in an increased quality of life.