Children, Chemotherapy, and Chlorhexidine



A literature review with a focus on randomized clinical trials conducted by Nashwan evaluated the effectiveness of chlorhexidine mouthwash as an intervention in the prevention of oral mucositis in children with cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy. The review found 5 studies that met the inclusion criteria; the studies included control groups that were placebo, no intervention, or another intervention group. Oral mucositis was scored by either the WHO scale or modified oral assessment guide. The review found that 4 studies showed a significant preventive effect of chlorhexidine on the development or severity of oral mucositis; one study showed no benefit of using chlorhexidine mouthwash compared with placebo. The author concludes that these data suggest that chlorhexidine may play a part in reducing oral mucosal damage during chemotherapy for children with cancer. This may possibly be due to a reduction in oral microflora and plaque as a result of chlorhexidine use.

(Source: Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, September/October 2011, Volume 28, Number 5)