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Propolis mouthwash for preventing radiotherapy-induced mucositis in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Med J Malaysia. 2022 Jul;77(4):462-467.


BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is the most common head and neck cancer in Malaysia. The gold standard treatment of NPC is radiotherapy (RT), as NPC is a radiosensitive tumour. Although RT is successful in treating NPC, patients cannot avoid the resulting RT complications. Oral mucositis is the most frequently encountered debilitating complication of RT and has no specific preventive treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a 2.5% propolis mouthwash for preventing RT-induced mucositis in patients with NPC.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was a prospective, double-arm, randomised control trial with intervention. The patients were randomly divided into an experimental group receiving propolis mouthwash and a placebo group receiving normal saline mouthwash. All patients were instructed to rinse their mouths with 7mL mouthwash three times daily for six weeks. The severity of oral mucositis was then evaluated by the World Health Organization Oral Toxicity Scale at the second, fourth, and sixth weeks of the study.

RESULTS: In total, 17 patients completed the study: 10 patients used the propolis mouthwash and seven used the placebo mouthwash. The mean mucositis scores for the propolis mouthwash compared to the placebo at the second, fourth, and sixth weeks were 0.10 vs. 1.14, 0.50 vs. 2.00, and 1.20 vs. 2.86, respectively, and the differences between the two groups were statistically significant (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: A 2.5% propolis mouthwash was both safe and effective for reducing the severity of oral mucositis following RT for NPC.


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