Assessment of the Preventive Effect of Pilocarpine on Radiotherapy-Induced Xerostomia in Patients with Head and Neck Cancers

Document Type: Original Paper

Authors

1 Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

2 Department of Radiology, Birjand University of Medical Science, Birjand, Iran

3 Radiotherapist, Ramezanzadeh Radiotherapy Center, Yazd, Iran

4 Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Sharekord University of Medical Sciences, Sharekord, Iran

5 School of Dentistry, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

Abstract

Introduction
Xerostomia is one of side-effects of radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. No definitive method has been proposed for the treatment of this condition. However, pilocarpine is considered effective for the management of chronic xerostomia. The purpose of the present study was to assess the preventive effect of pilocarpine.
Materials and Methods
This study was performed on 34 patients with head and neck cancers, undergoing radiation therapy (5000 cGy). The patients were randomly divided into two groups. The case group was administered 16 drops of pilocarpine (2%) eye drops per day, while the control group received normal saline; the treatment plan continued for four weeks. Unstimulated whole saliva flow rate was measured at four stages: two weeks before radiotherapy (baseline), the first day of radiotherapy, and two and four weeks after the initiation of radiotherapy.
Results
At baseline and the first day of radiotherapy, no significant differences were observed in the amount of saliva between the case and control groups (P
Conclusion
According to the findings, pilocarpine was found to be effective for the prevention of xerostomia. Moreover, it could restrain the decline in the amount of saliva and reduce the rate of xerostomia.

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Volume 12, Issue 4
November and December 2015
Pages 235-241
  • Receive Date: 15 August 2015
  • Revise Date: 27 April 2016
  • Accept Date: 15 November 2015