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A Guide to Medications That Can Cause Dry Mouth

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Over 500 medications can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth isn’t always just thirst – other symptoms can include difficulty eating, speaking, swallowing and bad breath, to name but a few. Use our quick reference guide to learn if the medications you (or a loved one) are taking could cause this uncomfortable condition.

Analgesics

Prescription painkillers, specifically those that are opioid based, are known to cause Dry Mouth, as they can have a drying effect on body tissues in general.

Anti-anxiety medications

Drugs for anxiety, especially benzodiazepines, may cause Dry Mouth.

Antidepressants

Dry Mouth is a common side effect of antidepressants, although newer Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have less of a drying effect than the older Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).

Antidiarrheals

Dry Mouth has been reported as a side effect of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, like loperamide, to stop diarrhea.

Antiemetics

Prescription and OTC anti-nausea medications can cause Dry Mouth. This is partly because some antiemetics, like diphenhydramine, are also antihistamines.

Antiepileptics

Medicines to control epilepsy and help prevent seizures, for example gabapentin, have been known to cause dryness of the mouth.

Antihistamines

Older allergy medications, such as diphenhydramine, have a general drying effect on the body and cause Dry Mouth. The newer generation of antihistamines, like loratadine, can still cause Dry Mouth.

Antiparkinsonians

Many medications for Parkinson’s Disease are anticholinergics and can cause Dry Mouth. Others, such as amantadine, while not anticholinergic, can still have a drying effect.

Antipsychotics

Drug treatments for psychiatric illnesses, particularly phenothiazine for schizophrenia, can be associated with Dry Mouth symptoms.

Antispasmodics

Dry Mouth is a common side effect of many, not all, medications for bladder control (urinary incontinence) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Bronchodilators

Systemic or inhaled bronchodilators for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including beta-2 agonists like salbutamol, are known to significantly reduce saliva flow.

Cardiovascular

Heart medication and drugs prescribed to lower your blood pressure, such as enalapril and nifedipine, may have a pronounced drying effect on the mouth.

Decongestants

OTC decongestants, especially those containing pseudoephedrine, are designed to dry the body’s mucosal excretions and can commonly lead to Dry Mouth.

Diuretics

These drugs are generally prescribed to lower blood pressure and work by expelling excess salt and water from the body, as urine. Dry Mouth can be reported as a side effect.

Hypnotics/Sedatives

Around a third of patients prescribed sleeping aids, such as benzodiazepines, complain of experiencing Dry Mouth.

Muscle relaxants

Medications prescribed for people suffering from spinal injuries, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause mouth dryness.

Proton pump inhibitors

Taking medications to control acid reflux and heartburn, for example omeprazole, can lead to Dry Mouth.

Smoking control medicines

Prescription medications to help you stop smoking, like bupropion – an antidepressant – have caused Dry Mouth in some people.

If you’re experiencing Dry Mouth symptoms but your medication isn’t listed here, speak with your doctor, dentist or pharmacist. Dry Mouth may be an uncomfortable side effect of many medications. Biotène Oral Rinse, Oralbalance Gel, and Moisturizing Spray can help to provide soothing and moisturizing relief for Dry Mouth symptoms.

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