Magic mouthwash is used to treat oral mucositis, or mouth sores, such as ulcers and sores from chemotherapy drugs. Over 40 percent of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy will get mucositis, according to registered nurse Carolyn Vachani, writing for the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. While there is no single formula for magic mouthwash, it always contains at least three prescribed ingredients. These may depend on the specific type of sores being treated.
Some magic mouthwash formulas contain an antibiotic to treat or prevent secondary bacterial infections around the sores, states the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Timothy Moynihan. The 2007 Therapeutic Research Center Pharmacist's letter lists several different magic mouthwash formulas containing the antibiotic tetracycline 1.
Mouth Ulcer Remedy
Mucositis is often accompanied by a fungal candida infection called thrush. An antifungal medication such as nystatin reduces fungal growth, and is often added to magic mouthwash. Nystatin comes in powder, tablets or a liquid suspension, according to the Mayo Clinic 2. The powder or liquid suspension is used as the antifungal agent in magic mouthwash.
- Mucositis is often accompanied by a fungal candida infection called thrush.
- An antifungal medication such as nystatin reduces fungal growth, and is often added to magic mouthwash.
Antihistamine or Anesthetic
Most magic mouthwash formulas also contain an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine, or a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. These reduce pain and discomfort, according to Moynihan.
Magic Swizzle Directions
An antacid--the same type you would take for soothing an upset stomach--is added to magic mouthwash to coat and soothe the inside of the mouth, and to enhance coating of the other ingredients. Kaopectate, containing bismuth, can make the mixture solidify. It is not used in Canadian magic mouthwash formulas, and the Pharmacist's Letter recommends using Maalox instead 1.
- An antacid--the same type you would take for soothing an upset stomach--is added to magic mouthwash to coat and soothe the inside of the mouth, and to enhance coating of the other ingredients.
- Kaopectate, containing bismuth, can make the mixture solidify.
Steroids or corticosteroids are a very effective anti-inflammatory agent and are often added to magic mouthwash to reduce swellings from sores and lesions on the tongue and inside of the mouth. However, the Pharmacist's Letter notes that corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone or dexamethasone have not been studied enough to prove their effectiveness in a mouthwash 1.
Mouth Ulcer Remedy
Magic Swizzle Directions
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- Therapeutic Research Center Pharmacist's Letter: Magic Mouthwash
- Mayo Clinic: Nystatin (Oral Route)
- Randy Otterholt DDS: Magic Mouthwash Prescription Rx Recipes and Formulas
- Shankar A, Roy S, Bhandari M, et al. Current Trends in Management of Oral Mucositis in Cancer Treatment. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2017;18(8):2019–2026. doi:10.22034/APJCP.2017.18.8.2019
- Aoyagi T, Terracina KP, Raza A, Matsubara H, Takabe K. Cancer cachexia, mechanism and treatment. World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2015;7(4):17–29. doi:10.4251/wjgo.v7.i4.17
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. Mouth Sores or Mucositis. Updated November 2018.
- Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:33. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.6223
- Sarvizadeh M, Hemati S, Meidani M, Ashouri M, Roayaei M, Shahsanai A. Morphine mouthwash for the management of oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer. Adv Biomed Res. 2015;4:44. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.151254
- Leenstra JL, Miller RC, Qin R, et al. Doxepin rinse versus placebo in the treatment of acute oral mucositis pain in patients receiving head and neck radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy: a phase III, randomized, double-blind trial (NCCTG-N09C6 [Alliance]). J Clin Oncol. 2014;32(15):1571–1577. doi:10.1200/JCO.2013.53.2630
Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.