25 Medications That Cause Dry Mouth

WHAT IS XEROSTOMIA

Dry mouth is a condition where the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. The causes of dry mouth range from underlying diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome to sleeping with an open mouth, and radiation therapy. There are even medications that can cause dry mouth. Oral dryness can be very uncomfortable to experience and it can even cause health problems. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what medications cause dry mouth and how to treat it.

Can certain medications cause dry mouth?

There are numerous medications on the market that have dry mouth (xerostomia) as a side effect, and some medications are more likely than others to cause the condition. Medications that cause dry mouth do so by affecting the sympathetic nervous system and thereby thicken and slow down the production of saliva. According to The American Academy of Oral Medicine, over 1,110 medications have the potential to cause dry mouth

Let’s take a look at some of the medications that can cause dry mouth…

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Antihistamines

Dry mouth that comes from taking an antihistamine may be because of an antimuscarinic effect. Here are some common over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines:

  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Claritin (loratadine)
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Antipsychotics 

Antipsychotics are mainly used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Here are some antipsychotics that can cause dry mouth:

  • Seroquel (quetiapine)
  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Stelazine (trifluoperazine)
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Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines help treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia and can also cause mild dry mouth. Here are some common benzodiazepines on the market:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
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Bronchodilators 

Inhalers are used by people with asthma or lung diseases to help open up their airways, but they can repress salivary glands and cause dry mouth. Popular bronchodilators include:

  • Albuterol
  • Flonase Allergy Relief (​​fluticasone)
  • Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate-salmeterol)
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Analgesics 

Analgesics are painkillers that include OTC pain meds like ibuprofen and stronger meds like opioids, which treat chronic pain. Pain medications affect the autonomic nervous system, which in turn affects saliva flow. Here are some of the most common pain medications on the market:

  • NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac)
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
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Stimulants

Stimulants are mainly used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, and have hyposalivation as a known side effect. These are three of the most commonly prescribed stimulants:

  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine)
  • Concerta (methylphenidate)
Blood pressure

Blood pressure & heart medications

Medications prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart medications can cause dry mouth. Here are some of those medications:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Heart rhythm medications
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Decongestants 

Decongestants help control how much mucus the body produces and can also affect how much saliva it produces. Popular OTC decongestants are:

  • Afrin (oxymetazoline)
  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
  • Vicks Sinex (oxymetazoline)
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Diuretics 

Diuretics reduce the amount of water and salt in the body by increasing urination, and are known to cause dry mouth. Here are some commonly prescribed diuretics:

  • Bumex (bumetanide)
  • Edecrin (ethacrynic acid)
  • Lasix (furosemide
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Alzheimer’s Disease Medications

Dry mouth tends to be more prevalent among older adults, and older adults who take Alzheimer’s disease medications are even more likely to experience dry mouth. Some of the most common Alzheimer’s disease medications that can cause dry mouth are: 

  • Aricept (donepezil)
  • Exelon (rivastigmine)
  • Razadyne (galantamine) 
ANTIBIOTICS

Anticholinergics 

These medications can treat numerous conditions such as urinary incontinence or an overactive bladder. They inhibit nerve impulses for involuntary muscle movements but can also reduce the flow of oral saliva. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed anticholinergics: 

  • Atropen (atropine)
  • Cogentin (benztropine mesylate)
  • Toviaz (fesoterodine) 
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Antidepressants

Antidepressants can help treat anxiety and depression. They can also exert an inhibiting influence on saliva production and often cause dry mouth. These are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)