Treatment of xerostomia: a systematic review of therapeutic trials

Dent Clin North Am. 2002 Oct;46(4):847-56. doi: 10.1016/s0011-8532(02)00023-x.


The results of the present systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in peer-reviewed journals demonstrate the presence of a wide variety of biases and the weakness of the existing literature of xerostomia treatment. The report of statistically significant efficacy on an outcome measure is only meaningful in the setting of a well-controlled, appropriately designed clinical trial. This points to the importance of evaluating the quality of the clinical trial closely when deciding if study results are applicable to a specific patient population. Future studies in the management of xerostomia will require an increased effort on the part of investigators to eliminate easily recognized flaws during the planning stages of a clinical trial. Minimizing bias in clinical studies will allow for easier interpretation and comparisons of different studies. Better clinical trial design is vital to provide maximal confidence in the efficacy of xerostomia interventions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Muscarinic Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Pilocarpine / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Saliva, Artificial / therapeutic use
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xerostomia / drug therapy
  • Xerostomia / etiology
  • Xerostomia / therapy*


  • Muscarinic Agonists
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Pilocarpine