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

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.


[1] Tan E, Lexomboon D, Sandborgh-Englund G et al. Medications that cause dry mouth as an adverse effect in older people: a systematic review and metaanalysis. J Am Geriatr Soc 2017. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15151

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, January 2018, Vol 10, No 1;10(1):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20204044

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