A bioadhesive tablet containing the antifungal drug miconazole is an effective and convenient means of treating oropharyngeal candidiasis, which is the most frequently occurring infection in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy, scientists reported at the 2nd ESMO Scientific & Educational Conference (ESEC) in Budapest, Hungary.
Dr. Rene-Jean Bensadoun from Centre Antoine Lacassagne in Nice, and international colleagues, studied patients in 36 centers who had completed radiotherapy for head and neck cancer and had oropharyngeal candidiasis confirmed by examination or fungal culture.
One group of 141 patients were given daily a bioadhesive tablet containing 50mg of miconazole, developed by BioAlliance Pharma, a French biopharmaceutical company, the other 141 patients received a mouth gel (MBG) containing 125mg of miconazole four times daily for 14 days.
"We found that the daily bioadhesive buccal tablet achieved the same efficacy as the gel, but required one-tenth as much miconazole, and could be given on a much more convenient schedule," Dr. Bensadoun said.
"Patients currently need to apply the gel four times a day, which is disruptive to their day and increases the risk that they will miss treatments and suffer the discomfort of candidiasis for a longer period of time."
"While oropharyngeal candidiasis is perhaps not a dangerous infection, it is unpleasant, and anything we can do as oncologists to improve the quality of life of cancer patients is a positive thing."
"Head and neck cancer patients suffer not only from their disease, but experience many acute and chronic side-effects due to treatment", comments Dr. Dirk Schrijvers from the Department of Medical Oncology of the ZNA Middelheim, Antwerp, Belgium. Everything that can improve the quality of life of these patients during and after treatment will have an impact on treatment compliance and disease outcome. By providing a simpler way of controlling oral candidiasis, patient compliance may increase.