Doctors use gout drug to treat canker sores...wait, what?
SUMMARY: The FDA restriction on marketing unapproved colchicine uses says it all.
Posted: June 25, 2012
Canker sores are the pits. These little white spots, also known as aphthous ulcers, appear on the gums, tongue and inner cheeks as a result of bacterial infection. They're unsightly and slimy, and they really hurt. Fortunately, specialty alcohol-free rinses can eliminate these ulcers without causing pain.
Plenty of research teams are looking into new ways of treating these sores. For instance, a team of scientists from Bangladesh recently ventured that a drug called colchicine might be able to knock them out.
The bad news: Colchicine is used mainly to treat gout, and currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned its marketing for almost anything else.
Canker sores: A painful problem
The whole reason that researchers used colchicine on canker sores is that these oral ulcers can be quite persistent. In fact, many people get them regularly, due to anything from genetic predisposition to poor dental hygiene.
In the new study, scientists from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, recruited 30 patients suffering from chronic canker sores. The team gave participants doses of colchicine and then took daily canker sore counts.
Overall, the drug regimen seemed to work. But it's doubtful that this treatment is worth it.
Just use specialty breath fresheners instead
Colchicine is a medicine that has two FDA-approved uses: treating gout and easing familial Mediterranean fever. It can have serious side effects and lethal drug-drug interactions. Overdoses are terrible and often compared to arsenic poisoning.
And generally, there's an easier and simpler solution: specialty breath fresheners.
The study may have had positive results, but it doesn't mean colchicine is the answer. And let us just say, the authors' specialties - namely, venereology and gynecology - don't inspire much confidence.
There's no point in using colchicine to treat canker sores. Instead, it's easiest and safest to stick to specialty alcohol-free breath fresheners.