Scientific Online Resource System

Scripta Scientifica Vox Studentium


Nefize Ilyaz, Mery Koleva, Stefka Valcheva-Kuzmanova, Miroslav Eftimov


Introduction: Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to lack of saliva. The symptoms include: dryness, thirst, bad breath, difficulty when chewing, dry red tongue, etc. Xerostomia increases the risk of gingivitis, tooth decay, mouth infections and can also make it hard to wear dentures. Causes of dry mouth include diseases (Sjögren`s syndrome, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Alzheimer`s disease, diabetes, anemia), head and neck radiotherapy, nerve damage, dehydration and adverse effects of medications.

The aim of the present study was to summarize drugs that can induce xerostomia, to show methods of its prevention and potential treatment.

Materials and Methods: A literature review of the relevant studies published in PubMed and Scopus was made and the results were summarized.

Results: As literature shows, over 1800 drugs in more than 80 drug categories have the ability to induce oral dryness. It is most common with muscarinic antagonists, antihistamines, diuretics, some antidepressants and antihypertensive drugs. The predominant mechanisms of drug-induced xerostomia are: M3 receptor blockade in the salivary glands (muscarinic antagonists, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants) and loss of body fluids (diuretics). A muscarinic agonist (pilocarpine, cevimeline) can be used for the treatment of xerostomia. Patients are advised to drink plenty of water, to chew sugarless gums, to avoid tobacco and alcohol.

Conclusion: Prolonged xerostomia can cause serious dental problems. Therefore, dentists should advise the patients about its prevention and treatment. In severe drug-induced xerostomia, they can recommend the substitution of some drugs with others which have similar efficacy and are devoid of that adverse effect.


xerostomia, drug-induced, prevention, treatment



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