Recently, 4 separate human controlled trials reported that honey appeared to protect from the effects of radiation-induced oral mucositis formation, a complication of radiation therapy that is responsible for pain and overall reduction in quality of life. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors examined 3 of these controlled trials (n = 120) that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria to determine whether honey had protective effects against radiation-induced oral mucositis. The meta-analysis demonstrated an overall relative risk reduction of 80% in the honey treatment group compared with the control. Although favorable, the data must be approached with caution because of lack of description of the method of randomization and potential bias in all 3 of the individual studies included in the meta-analysis. The results are promising, and further studies are needed to strengthen the current evidence prior to a firm clinical recommendation being given.
The meta-analysis demonstrated an overall relative risk reduction of 80% in the honey treatment group compared with the control.
Jason J. Song, MD, PhD, is a National Institutes of Health T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philip Twumasi-Ankrah, PhD, is an Assistant Professor (Biostatistics), Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, Kansas. Richard Salcido, MD, is the William J. Erdman, II Professor of Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Dr Douglas D. Bradham for his constructive assistance and advice during the preparation of this article.
Submitted May 11, 2011; accepted June 16, 2011