We all hate canker sores, those pesky flat ulcers that can appear on our gums, tongue, inside lips and or cheeks and hurt like crazy. Thankfully there are lots of over-the-counter treatments and home remedies for mouth sores that can make our mouths feel better and knock out the pain.
Can Colchicine Help?
Just like every other condition, treating mouth sores is a big business (just look at all the OTC canker sore products in the drugstore) and prescription meds are sometimes used in severe cases. Colchicine, a medication used for treating gout, has sometimes been prescribed as an off-label treatment for mouth sores with mixed results. Recently a report was published in the Bangladesh Medical Journal about a study on Colchicine for treating recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS), i.e. frequent canker sores. In the six-month clinical trial the team gave Colchicine to 30 study participants who suffered from frequent aphthous ulcers. It was found that there was a marked decrease in symptoms during the study period and participants experienced less pain. The study concluded that Colchicine may be a “promising treatment” for RAS.
Major Side Effects
However, as with most drugs, Colchicine has lots of side effects, which may include diarrhea, dizziness, hair loss, nausea, flushing, vomiting, stomach pain and loss of appetite. The more severe side effects include severe allergic reaction, blood in urine, fever, lower back, lower stomach, genital and inner thigh pain, muscle weakness, numbing or burning, yellowing of the eyes or skin and other problems. Wow, that sounds kind of scary.
This is a heavy-duty drug that can affect your gastrointestinal, hematologic, nervous, renal, dermatologic, genitourinary, musculoskeletal and hepatic systems. It’s not something to take lightly. These kinds of side effects are serious. There are also potentially lethal drug interactions. The FDA has only approved this drug for treating gout and Mediterranean fever, although some people, desperate for a solution to their painful sores, have gotten their doctors to write prescriptions for this drug.
What to Do?
So why would you want to risk these possible side effects to treat your mouth ulcers? While this drug may help treat canker sores, there are other, gentler alternative treatments you can try at home or via your dentist or doctor. Some of my favorites include Aloe Vera Gel, Bee Propolis Extract, licorice root, baking soda, alum, hydrogen peroxide, and milk of magnesia. One very effective remedy can be found at your dentist’s office: laser treatment to zap your ulcer. It takes away the pain and helps heal your sore very quickly.
There are some special mouthwashes your doctor can prescribe, however you can also try some homemade mouth rinses from baking soda and water , salt and water or hydrogen peroxide and water. Your local drugstore also has an array of over-the-counter topical gels and ointments to help numb the area and relieve the pain, such as Anbesol Anesthetic Gel, Orajel, as well as patches such as Cankermelts Medicated Discs that cover the sore and help prevent further irritation.
If you are plagued with frequent sores you may need to make some lifestyle changes. Frequent culprits in recurring mouth ulcers include stress and lack of sleep, which weaken the immune system and make you more predisposed to getting sores. Also, eating or drinking acidic foods ranging from coffee and orange juice to strawberries, eating foods you have a sensitive to (not necessarily an allergic) such as wheat or nuts, or having a nutritional imbalance with a vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid or iron deficiency may also play a part. For some, simply making a change in the type of toothpaste they use has made a difference –switching to a non-SLS toothpaste can help.
Whatever the cause of your canker sores, there is a solution without having to resort to heavy-duty drugs.