Supportive Care in Cancer vol:15 issue:12 pages:1429-1436
INTRODUCTION: Xerostomia is a common complication of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Symptomatic treatment consists of stringent oral hygiene to prevent oral infections and saliva substitutes to increase comfort. The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of the BioXtra (BX) dry mouth care system. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A xerostomia questionnaire consisting of 3 parts (xerostomia symptom score, quality of life (QoL) survey and visual analogue scale (VAS)) was completed by 34 patients suffering from radiation-induced xerostomia, before and after 4 weeks of treatment with the BioXtra moisturizing gel, toothpaste and mouthwash. RESULTS: The BioXtra products significantly diminished the most common symptoms of xerostomia. Mean VAS score at the start of treatment was 59.8. After treatment, this decreased to 36.4 (p < 0.001). Twenty-six patients (77%) responded to treatment, 11 of these patients (32%) reported a major improvement. Quality of life significantly improved under treatment: mean QoL score at the start was 59.4; this increased to 70.5 (p < 0.001). None of the 34 patients reported any adverse effects and all but 1 patient found the BX dry mouth care system easy to use. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that the BioXtra dry mouth care system is effective in reducing the symptoms of radiation-induced xerostomia and improving the quality of life of xerostomia patients, even if a proportion of the benefit is due to a placebo effect. However, further research is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of BioXtra on oral health.