A Guide to Medications - Dry Mouth

About 50% of the population is treated with at least one medication and 30% of them develop salivary side-effects. Dry mouth can be either subjectively felt (named xerostomia) or objectively assessed by saliva collection (salivary gland hypofunction), or also can be both. Excessive saliva, called sialorrhea can be subjective or objective, as well. These conditions cause significant suffering and impair quality of life. The World Workshop on Oral Medicine VI has recently reviewed this subject, and a list of medications inducing dry mouth and sialorrhea has been compiled and published.

After searching databases for scientific publications with an acceptable degree of relevance, quality of methodology and strength of evidence, the researchers compiled a list of 106 medications with moderate to high level of evidence of causing dry mouth or sialorrhea. Most drugs are used to treat conditions of the alimentary, cardiovascular, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, nervous and respiratory systems.

The severity of these side-effects is usually dose-dependent and associated with the number of medications that are consumed. Treatment strategies include substitution or discontinuation of medications whenever possible, oral or systemic therapy with sialogogues, administration of saliva substitutes, and use of electro-stimulating devices.

It should be noted that this list includes only single chemical ingredients, but the list of actual commercially available medications causing dry mouth may comprise thousands of products.

This list may assist practitioners in assessing patients who complain of dry mouth while taking medications. The list may also prove useful for anticipating adverse effects and help practitioners to consider alternative medications. For clinical implementation, it is recommended to use the complete paper, which can be found here.

Download the full list - Medications reported to induce dry mouth and sialorrhea

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