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Licorice effective in decreasing problems with postoperative sore throat PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 31 July 2009 19:26
Postoperative sore throat, or POST, is a well recognized complication of anesthesia in patients who have had an endotracheal tube inserted. It can lead to patient displeasure and discomfort after surgery and can slow down a patient's return to normal routine activities.

Postextubation cough, or PEC, although not life threatening causes considerable discomfort to the patients and can be associated with increased rate of postoperative problems. Adverse side effects can include increased blood pressure, increased and abnormal heart rate, and increased pressure in the skull and eyes.

Licorice, which is derived from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra has been used as an alternative medicine for the treatment of inflammation, allergies, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. Licorice has been shown to have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and cough suppressive properties.

Pharmacological measures to deal with POST have limitations and variable success rate. A study published in Ambulatory Anesthesiology examined the use of a licorice gargle to prevent these common problems.

In the study of 40 patients, each was provided with licorice mixture to gargle for 30 seconds, 5 minutes before anesthesia. Licorice extract is 50 times sweeter than sugar and the gargle had a distinct taste that patients found pleasant.

The study authors found "a significant reduction in the incidence of POST and PEC" in the group that used the licorice gargle versus a control group. "Results of this study are also similar to earlier studies as we observed a reduction in POST (rest) from 78% to 21%. We also observed a reduction in POST (swallowing) from 83% to 21% after licorice gargle.

Patients with ulcers in the mouth were able to use the licorice gargle and actually reported the benefit from licorice.

The authors conclude, "licorice gargle performed 5 minutes before induction of anesthesia is an effective method for attenuating both the incidence and severity of POST."


Source: Ambulatory Anesthesiology, Vol. 109, No. 1, July 2009
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:38