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Adverse drug reaction

Older adults at risk of medication-related dry mouth

In a meta-analysis of 26 studies, researchers found that medication use was significantly associated with dry mouth

Close up of a senior woman's mouth


Study finds that medication use is significantly associated with dry mouth, particularly in people using drugs for urinary incontinence

Many drugs commonly used by older adults are associated with the side effect of dry mouth. However, there has been limited research into the risk of medication-induced dry mouth in this group of patients.

In the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (26 October 2017), researchers carried out a review of 52 studies involving people aged 60 and over associating medication use with dry mouth adverse events[1].

They found that medication use was significantly associated with dry mouth. In a meta-analysis of 26 of the studies, the greatest risk was with drugs for urinary incontinence, which were associated with a nearly six-fold increased risk versus placebo (odds ratio [OR] = 5.91). Antidepressants (OR = 4.74) and psycholeptics (OR = 2.59) were also significantly associated with the risk of dry mouth.

The team said that future research should develop risk scores for medication-induced dry mouth to assist with prescribing and medication management.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20204044

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  • Close up of a senior woman's mouth

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