Triple Mix To Relieve Pain of Mouth Sores After Chemotherapy

Basics on Versions of Triple Mix and How to Take It

Young woman rinsing mouth, leaning over sink
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Chemotherapy causes side effects, one of which is mucositis. While good oral hygiene, avoiding hot and spicy foods, saline mouth rinses, and ice chips may provide some comfort, many desire something more potent to relieve their pain until the mucositis resolves.

Let's learn about triple mix — a common remedy for mucositis caused by chemotherapy

What is Mucositis?

This is an inflammation of the mucus tissues, which starts at your mouth (oral mucositis) and goes down your esophagus (esophageal mucositis) through your digestive system (intestinal mucositis).

It can feel like a sunburn inside your body. Other features of mucositis include:

  • redness 
  • sores or ulcerations 

Pain relief until the mucositis resolves — which is anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks according to a 2009 study in Dental Clinics of North America —is important for a person's comfort and quality of life. In addition, pain control is important for a person's nutritional status — not eating because of mouth pain is unhealthy, especially when a person's body is already going through the stress of chemotherapy.  

What is Triple Mix?:

Triple Mix is a combination of three liquids that treat and soothe oral and esophageal mucositis. The recipe can vary, and some of the ingredients are available by prescription only. The usual mix contains drugs that will stop pain, reduce inflammation, and sometimes treat a bacterial or fungal infection.

Your doctor must prescribe this drug for you, and your pharmacist will need time to create it.

Triple Mix must be compounded when it is ordered — meaning it has to be made at the pharmacy and does not come already mixed.

One recipe calls for: Maalox (coats and soothes sores), lidocaine (numbs the sores), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

Nystatin (treats infection) and Hurricane Gel or Liquid (numbs pain) can also be combined with Maalox to create another version of Triple Mix.

Kaopectate is also sometimes used instead of Maalox.

Also Known As:

  • Triple Solution
  • Velvet Glove
  • Magic Mouthwash
  • GI (Gastrointestinal) Cocktail

How You Use Triple Mix

There are two ways to use Triple Mix. You can either use it as an oral rinse, swishing a dose around inside your mouth to coat all the sores and other tissues. In this case, don't swallow the Triple Mix, just spit it out.

If your mucositis is severe and extensive, you may use it as an oral rinse first, and then swallow it to get relief from pain and inflammation in your esophagus and digestive system. Wait at least 30 minutes after using Triple Mix before you eat or drink anything.

Final Thought

If you are suffering from chemotherapy-induced mucositis, please speak with your doctor about strategies for pain relief. 

Sources:

Lalla RV, Sonis ST, & Peterson DE. Management of Oral Mucositis in Patients with Cancer. Dent Clin North Am. 2008 Jan;52(1):61-viii.

http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/complications/mucositis.php

National Cancer Institute. Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation (PDQ®). Last Modified: 06/05/2007.

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