One of the most important weapons in my arsenal when it came to finding comfort during the post surgical application of radiation/chemo combo therapy was the use of Akabutu’s mouthwash. This mouthwash or oral rinse was developed by Dr. John Akabutu while working at the University of Alberta Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
It is my understanding that this isn’t always easy to come by outside of the Alberta cancer community, so for those of you who don’t have easy access, here is one variation on the recipe;
From what I’ve been able to discover through my research of various channels Dr. Akabutu’s mouthwash is made up of;
- 60 cc of xylocaine viscous (2%),
- 50 ml of nystatin suspension (100,000 U/ml),
- 125 ml of normal saline, 60 mg of hydrocortisone (three tablets of 20 mg),
- and 3 to 5 ml of glycerine.
This should give you a total volume of 240 ml. The instructions that normally go with the use of the mouthwash are to shake it well, then swish 30 ml of solution around the mouth and throat for one minute and to spit out the excess. In my case, the ‘swishing’ wasn’t enough; I gargled with it to ensure that I got more coverage in the back of my throat. So the suggestion is to try this every four to six hours as needed. Most of the advice I have found around the use of the mouthwash says something like; whenever possible, patients should also avoid eating or drinking for approximately 30 minutes after its use.
Click this link to see a bit more about preparing the mixture
I’m not sure why they recommend ‘spitting out the excess’, when you’re actually encouraged to swallow the nystatin suspension after using it as a swish-and-gargle to control thrush. It may have something to do with the xylocain content.
I hope this is helpful!
I’ve included a photo of Dr. Akabutu just to remind everyone who developed this ‘magic mouthwash’.
Look after the teeth!
When you are talking to patients or whomever you’re checking out Akabutu’s Mouthwash for ask them how they are looking after their teeth. Chemo and radiation treatments for head and neck cancers can have a profoundly negative effect on teeth. I’ve still got all mine. Persistence, discipline and diligent maintenance make a difference. Wanna know more? Send me an email; firstname.lastname@example.org .
There’s another strong advocacy and support group out there for Head and Neck Cancer patients and survivors.
Take a look at the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.
Feel free to look through the other oral cancer related entries on this site. I am starting to organize things a bit better to get rid of the anarchistic feel to it all.