A dissolvable oral strip has been developed to immediately relieve pain from burns caused by ingestion of hot foods and liquids, such as coffee, pizza, and soup.
Lead researcher Jason McConville, Ph.D., and colleagues from University of Texas at Austin, designed the strip for controlled delivery of a local anesthetic, benzocaine, and a therapeutic polymer. Benzocaine, commonly used as a topical pain reliever in dental products and throat lozenges, was chosen as for its non-irritating properties.
The strip is applied directly to the burned part of the tongue, cheek or roof of the mouth. It sticks to the affected area and won't interfere with normal day-to-day activities, as it quickly dissolves for instant pain relief and promotes healing.
"We found these strips to be non-toxic, which has huge potential for anyone who burns their mouth while eating and drinking hot foods—and that's just about everyone," said McConville. "The strips look and behave similar to breath freshening strips that you might find at your local drugstore."
Now based at the University of New Mexico, McConville, and his team, will explore creating a stronger oral strip to treat more severe burns lasting longer than 2-3 days. The next step in furthering their research will be to test the strips in humans and experiment with taste-masking.