Practical aspects of management of recurrent aphthous stomatitis

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Sep;21(8):1019-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2007.02393.x.


Treatment of recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) remains, to date, empirical and non-specific. The main goals of therapy are to minimize pain and functional disabilities as well as decrease inflammatory reactions and frequency of recurrences. Locally, symptomatically acting modalities are the standard treatment in simple cases of RAS. Examples include topical anaesthetics and analgesics, antiseptic and anti-phlogistic preparations, topical steroids as cream, paste or lotions, antacids like sucralfate, chemically stable tetracycline suspension, medicated toothpaste containing the enzymes amyloglucosidase and glucoseoxidase in addition to the well-known silver nitrate application. Dietary management supports the treatment. In more severe cases, topical therapies are again very useful in decreasing the healing time but fail to decrease the interval between attacks. Systemic immunomodulatory agents, like colchicine, pentoxifylline, prednisolone, dapsone, levamisol, thalidomide, azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclosporin A, interferon alpha and tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists, are helpful in resistant cases of major RAS or aphthosis with systemic involvement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimetabolites / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / diet therapy
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / drug therapy*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antimetabolites
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Steroids