- Last Updated: 09 November 2015 09 November 2015
by R. Sanderson in 2012.
Drs. Ava J. Wu (professor of orofacial sciences) and Troy E. Daniels (professor of oral medicine and pathology) at the University of California, San Francisco and contributors to The Sjögren's Book, Chapter 16 on "The Dry Mouth", report that 15% of adults in the U.S. suffer from dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a common problem for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM), often as a side effect from medications used for symptom management.
Antidepressants (especially those in the tricyclic family), muscle relaxants, antihistamines, some pain medications, and agents for overactive bladder are some of the drugs that cause dry mouth. This group of medications have anticholinergic properties—they work by targeting certain chemicals within the nervous system and their mechanism has an increased potential for certain adverse affects, including but not limited to the regulation of salivary function.
This type of dry mouth is classified as "medication-induced" and it has become increasing more frequent, even in the general population. Patients should report this side effect to their doctors and see if other medications can be substituted.
If switching medications does not help or if patients need to use certain medications, then it is very important to add adjunct therapies, partly for comfort but also to lessen long-term effects of continued dryness.