Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by infections, nerve damage and drugs such as blood pressure medication like clonidine, Prilosec and other ulcer medications, antihistamines, stimulants such as amphetamines and intestinal medication called atropine. It can be associated with a type of arthritis (1).

Lack of saliva causes mouth and neck pain, infections, difficulty talking and sleeping, dental cavities, and difficulty swallowing because saliva lubricates the food and allows it to pass down your throat. Since the mouth is normally full of germs that belong there, it is very difficult to culture a bacteria that causes dry mouth, but some people are cured by taking the antibiotics metronidazole and clarithromycin for a couple of weeks. If that doesn't cure you, you may have to take a 5mg pilocarpine pill four times a day, but they can cause sweating, nausea, running nose, chills, dizziness and frequent urination (2,3,4).

You can also try a machine called Salitron made by Biosonics in Pennsylvania. It uses an electrical probe in your mouth to stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva.

1) Interferon treats Sjorgen's syndrome.British Med Journal Jan, 1993.

2) Archives of Internal Medicine 1999(January);159:174-181.

3) NEJM, 1993;329:390.

4) The Medical Letter August 19, 1994.

5) FB Vivino, I Alhashimi, Z Khan, FG Leveque, PL Salisbury, TK Tranjohnson, CC Muscoplat, M Trivedi, B Goldlust, SC Gallagher. Pilocarpine tablets for the treatment of dry mouth and dry eye symptoms in patients with Sjogren syndrome - A randomized, placebo-controlled, fixed-dose, multicenter trial. Archives of Internal Medicine 159: 2 (JAN 25 1999):174-181. 5-mg pilocarpine tablets 4 times daily (20 mg/d).

Checked 2/9/09

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