“Magic Mouthwash” is a catchall term used to describe any mixture of oral medications that cancer patients use to deal with oral pain associated with intensive chemotherapy treatments. After chemotherapy, patients often have difficulty eating, swallowing or even talking. The specially prepared mouthwash is used to treat throat pain, mouth ulcers and other side effects of cancer treatment.
The mixture of medications allows for both the healing of mouth and throat sores as well as relieving the pain associated with these conditions. Patients will gargle the solution every four to six hours, depending on the solution and its ingredients. The mouthwash helps patients deal with dry mouth, a recurring side effect of chemotherapy treatments, and allows them to eat solid food when possible.
Many varieties of Magic Mouthwash exist. Doctors will prescribe particular mixtures for their patients depending on their condition. The basic ingredients include:
- Antacid: Helps the mouth heal from stomach acid and other harmful acids
- Cortical Steroid: Reduces swelling and inflammation
- Antihistamine: Eases breathing
- Antibiotic: Lowers chances of infection
- Pain reliever
Since the mouthwash is made up of several different ingredients, side effects can vary from patient to patient. For instance, patients who are allergic to penicillin may have an adverse reaction to the antibiotic ingredients. Others may react badly to the steroids or to antihistamines such as diphenhydramine. The most common side effects include a burning or tingling sensation in the areas surrounding the affected mouth sores.
Who should use Magic Mouthwash?
Patients with severe mouth sores due to chemotherapy treatments should consult their doctor about a “Magic Mouthwash” prescription. Even those with minor mouth pain associated with cancer treatment should ask their physician about the efficacy of such a solution.
Mouth sores can lead to loss of appetite, tooth decay, gum disease and oral infection. All of these issues can hamper the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Patients and doctors can work together to determine the best possible solution for the condition under treatment.
Can a patient make a Magic Mouthwash from over-the-counter medications?
Many of the ingredients in “Magic Mouthwash” are available over the counter, including antacids and liquid pain relievers. However, most doctors would advise patients to follow their orders based on their prescriptions.