Medication-induced hyposalivation: etiology, diagnosis, and treatment

Compend Contin Educ Dent. Jan-Feb 2008;29(1):50-5.


Polypharmacy in the nation's growing geriatric population will require increasingly complex pharmacologic management of multiple disease states. This brief review describes normal salivary function, potential causes of salivary dysfunction, oral health concerns associated with hyposalivation, diagnostic tests, and options for patient care. Medications can reduce salivary flow, creating the condition known as xerostomia. A major complication of xerostomia is the promotion of dental caries. Asking several standardized questions regarding symptoms may help confirm salivary gland hypofunction. The general approach to patients with hyposalivation and xerostomia is directed at palliative treatment for the relief of symptoms and prevention of oral complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Agents / adverse effects
  • Cholinergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care
  • Saliva, Artificial / therapeutic use
  • Salivary Glands / innervation
  • Salivary Glands / physiology
  • Xerostomia / chemically induced*
  • Xerostomia / complications
  • Xerostomia / diagnosis
  • Xerostomia / therapy


  • Autonomic Agents
  • Cholinergic Agents
  • Saliva, Artificial