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Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.Timothy Moynihan, M.D.
"As a practicing medical oncologist, I meet with patients and families every day to help manage their course through this disease called cancer. This experience provides unique insight into the needs of cancer patients, their families and loved ones and brings into sharp focus the need for reliable information to be readily available in terms that can be easily understood." — Dr. Timothy Moynihan
Dr. Timothy Moynihan believes that providing consumers with accurate, timely information on the broad, complex topic of cancer is the biggest challenge facing medical websites. As the guiding force behind our cancer content, he makes sure Mayo Clinic meets the test.
Dr. Moynihan, born in Las Vegas, N.M., and raised in Denver, is a consultant in medical oncology at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn. He's board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice and palliative care medicine.
He did his medical oncology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then went on to the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Regions Medical Center for seven years before moving to Mayo Clinic in 1999. Dr. Moynihan is medical director of the Mayo Clinic hospice.
Dr. Moynihan serves as the education chair for the Department of Oncology and the fellowship program director. Four times he has been selected as Teacher of the Year in medical oncology and elected to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame.
Past honors include distinguished clinical teacher at the University of Minnesota Medical School, best internist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and recipient of the Upjohn Achievement Award for Excellence in Medicine. Dr. Moynihan serves on several national committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
"The Internet provides a ready source of information on a wide range of topics of interest to those affected by cancer," Dr. Moynihan says. "The difficulty is trying to decide which sites provide reputable information and which information is relevant to each individual patient. The long history and tradition of excellence associated with Mayo Clinic assures you that information provided will be reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive."
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Magic mouthwash: Effective for chemotherapy mouth sores?
I have mouth sores from receiving chemotherapy. I've heard that something called "magic mouthwash" might help. What is it?
from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
Magic mouthwash is the term given to a solution used to treat mouth sores (oral mucositis). Oral mucositis can be extremely painful and can result in an inability to eat, speak or swallow. Magic mouthwash may be used to treat mouth sores that result from some forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
There are several versions of magic mouthwash. Some are available pre-mixed (First-Mouthwash BLM, First-BXN Mouthwash, others), while others are prepared to order by pharmacists. If it's determined that magic mouthwash might be helpful, your doctor will likely write a prescription listing the ingredients and the amount of each. Magic mouthwash usually contains at least three of these basic ingredients:
- An antibiotic to kill bacteria around the sore
- An antihistamine or local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort
- An antifungal to reduce fungal growth
- A corticosteroid to treat inflammation
- An antacid to enhance coating of the other ingredients inside the mouth
Most formulations of magic mouthwash are intended to be used every four to six hours, and to be held in your mouth for one to two minutes before being either spit out or swallowed. It's recommended that you don't eat or drink for 30 minutes after using magic mouthwash so that the medicine has time to produce an effect.
It's unclear how effective magic mouthwash is in treating oral mucositis. That's because of the lack of standardization in the formulations of mouthwash, and poorly designed studies done to gather data. If you have mouth sores that cause you pain and discomfort, talk with your doctor.
Side effects of magic mouthwash may include problems with taste, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.Next question
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- Magic mouthwash: An update. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter. Nov. 2009;25:251103.
- Negrin RS, et al. Oral toxicity associated with chemotherapy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
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- McElhiney LF. Magic mouthwashes: A literature review and discussion of common compositions. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding. 2011;15:377.