The past months have shown a slightly higher COVID-19 positivity rate in the Philippines compared to the prior months. This may be attributed to the new Omicron variants that seemed to inevitably make their way all around key areas.
A month ago, four people within my circle got hit by the virus and somehow they all had similar mild symptoms—headache, fatigue, and sore throat. In a recent media roundtable along with one of the country’s trusted medical research teams as well as representatives of iNova Pharma Philippines Inc., the makers of the Difflam- C gargle, a discussion underscored the recent developments in our fight against COVID-19.
It was an eye-opening discourse as the UERM Memorial Medical Center Research team shared the result of the recent in-vivo study they conducted for Difflam- C, a locally-available antiseptic gargle solution. It was shown that Difflam-C significantly alleviates the so-called COVID-19 Sore Throat— the most common symptom and tell-tale sign of people diagnosed with COVID-19.
The in-vivo study focused on establishing whether the combination of Benzydamine HCl and Chlorhexidine gluconate in Difflam-C are effective in a real-world setting and was conducted on 219 COVID-19 patients from November 2021 until February 2022. This combination of active ingredients found in Difflam-C solution has been gaining popularity in the Philippines particularly among doctors and healthcare professionals, with the synergistic action of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anesthetic, and antiseptic properties in relieving sore throat, as well as other symptoms of throat and mouth infection.
Clinically-tested efficacy in COVID-19 Patients
Lead investigators of the study have found that Difflam-C® significantly relieves the COVID-19 patients’ sore throat and alleviates throat discomfort associated with difficulty and/or pain in swallowing. Results also show that it helps shorten the duration of the said condition of COVID-19 patients, with the VAS scores of participants significantly decreased during the course of treatment with Difflam-C®. “At specified time intervals, median VAS scores showed a decreasing trend from baseline until after 12 hours of Day 1 and are significantly different from baseline values (p<0.001). There were some participants whose sore throat pain was relieved within 30 minutes of first use of the solution which persisted even until after 12 hours,” says lead investigator Dr. Jennifer M. Nailes, MD, MSPH, Vice-President for Research of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc.
“There was a noticeable shortening of the course of the sore throat in the study subjects, with their use of Difflam-C® during treatment. This gargle solution could be viewed as an effective treatment for patients with odynophagia (painful swallowing) or dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), conditions associated with severe sore throat among COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Nailes.
Though yet to be published by Acta Medica Philippina, a peer-reviewed general medical and health science journal, these results are extremely encouraging and present a positive step in addressing the COVID-19 sore throat, using a widely available medicated gargle solution such as Difflam-C® in the study.
As cases rise and new Omicron variants are discovered, the results of this study could be valuable information in making the public more aware of clinically tested remedies to help address key symptoms like the COVID-19 sore throat. While Benzydamine HCl + Chlorhexidine gluconate (Difflam-C®) could be an effective treatment for COVID-19 sore throat, getting vaccinated with boosters, the observance of standard health protocols, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the current mainstays for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.