Drug effects on salivary glands: dry mouth

Oral Dis. 2003 Jul;9(4):165-76. doi: 10.1034/j.1601-0825.2003.03967.x.


Objective: To identify drugs associated with the complaint of dry mouth.

Materials and methods: MEDLINE was searched for papers 1980-2002 using keywords, oral, mouth, salivary, drugs, dry mouth and xerostomia, and relevant secondary references were hand-searched.

Results: Evidence was forthcoming for a number of xerogenic drugs, especially antimuscarinic agents, some sympathomimetic agents, and agents affecting serotonin and noradrenaline uptake, as well as a miscellany of other drugs such as appetite suppressants, protease inhibitors and cytokines.

Conclusion: Dry mouth has a variety of possible causes but drugs--especially those with anticholinergic activity against the M3 muscarinic receptor--are the most common cause of reduced salivation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholinergic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Salivary Glands / drug effects*
  • Salivation / drug effects
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects
  • Xerostomia / chemically induced*


  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Sympathomimetics