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    Salivary glands are among the most sensitive target organs of medications with anticholinergic (AC) properties, interrupting the neural stimulation of saliva secretion and reducing saliva flow. Hyposalivation results in dry mouth, leading to dental caries, intraoral infection, orofacial pain, problems with speaking and swallowing, and diminished oral health--related quality of life. Current understanding of the pharmacokinetics of AC medications and their effect on muscarinic receptors in the salivary glands were reviewed to assist clinicians in predicting salivary damage in patients with AC medication-induced dry mouth. We summarized the literature related to the mechanisms and properties of AC medications, anticholinergic adverse effects, and their effect on salivary function and management strategies to prevent oral health damage. Although a large number of studies reported on the frequencies of medication-induced dry mouth, we found very limited data on predicting individual susceptibility to AC medication--caused hyposalivation and no prospective clinical studies addressing this issue. Dry mouth is most frequently caused by medications with AC properties, which interrupt the neural stimulation of saliva secretion. Interdisciplinary care should guide pharmacotherapeutics and dental interventions should aim in preventing AC salivary adverse effects and reducing the oral health burden from AC medication-induced dry mouth. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Szilvia Arany, Dorota T Kopycka-Kedzierawski, Thomas V Caprio, Gene E Watson. Anticholinergic medication: Related dry mouth and effects on the salivary glands. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology and oral radiology. 2021 Dec;132(6):662-670

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    PMID: 34593340

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