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Oral Side Effects of Medications

(continued)

Inflammation of the Lining Inside of the Mouth (Mucositis)

Mucositis is inflammation of the moist tissue lining the mouth and digestive tract. This tissue is called the mucous membrane. Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Doctors think that certain chemotherapy drugs, including methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil, trigger a complex pattern of biological changes that damage the cells that make up the mucous membranes. Mucositis causes painful swelling of the mouth and tongue and can lead to bleeding, pain, and mouth ulcers. The condition can make it difficult to eat.

You are more likely to develop mucositis after taking chemotherapy drugs if you drink alcohol, use tobacco, do not take care of your teeth and gums, are dehydrated, or have diabetes, HIV, or kidney disease. 

Chemotherapy medicines that can cause mucositis include:

  • alemtuzumab (Campath)
  • asparaginase (Elspar)
  • bleomycin (Blenoxane)
  • busulfan (Myleran, Busulfex)
  • capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • carboplatin (Paraplatin)
  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • cytarabine (Cytosar-U) 
  • daunorubicin (Cerubidine)
  • docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • epirubicin (Ellence) 
  • etoposide (VePesid)
  • fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • hydroxyurea (Hydrea)
  • idarubicin (Idamycin)
  • interleukin 2 (Proleukin)
  • irinotecan (Camptosar)
  • lomustine (CeeNU)
  • mechlorethamine (Mustargen)
  • melphalan (Alkeran) 
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • mitomycin (Mutamycin)
  • mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
  • oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • pemetrexed (Alimta)
  • pentostatin (Nipent)
  • procarbazine (Matulane)
  • thiotepa (Thioplex) 
  • topotecan (Hycamtin) 
  • trastuzumab (Herceptin) 
  • tretinoin (Vesanoid)
  • vinblastine (Velban) 
  • vincristine (Oncovin)

Mouth Sores (Ulcers)

A mouth ulcer refers to an open (ulcerated) sore that occurs inside the mouth or on the tongue. Mouth ulcers are often compared to "craters" because they have a hole in the middle. This hole is actually a break in the moist tissue (mucous membrane) that lines the mouth. Mouth sores may also be called canker sores.

Chemotherapy drugs that cause mucositis can cause mouth sores to develop. Such drugs include:

  • alemtuzumab (Campath)    
  • bleomycin (Blenoxane)
  • capecitabine (Xeloda)    
  • cetuximab (Erbitux)    
  • docetaxel (Taxotere)    
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • epirubicin (Ellence)
  • erlotinib (Tarceva)    
  • fluorouracil  (5-FU)
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • sunitinib (Sutent)
  • vincristine (Oncovin)       

Other medicines that have been linked to the development of mouth sores include:

  • Aspirin
  • Gold used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Penicillin
  • Phenytoin
  • Sulfonamides
  • Streptomycin

 

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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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