Dry Mouth: Is It Sjögren’s?

When it comes to dry mouth, medications – and not Sjogren's syndrome – are often the culprit.


While dry mouth is a hallmark of Sjögren’s syndrome, not all oral dryness results from Sjögren’s. That's one factor that makes it difficult to diagnoses Sjogren's – and all too easy to misdiagnose it

Any problem that affects the salivary glands can cause dry mouth as can any disease or injury affecting the area of the brain that controls salivation. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause dry mouth. However, the most common cause is medications you take for other conditions.

Your doctor can perform tests to determine the cause of dry mouth, but if you take one of the following medications, ask your doctor if it might be causing or at least worsening your dry-mouth condition.

  • Blood pressure medications, including alpha adrenergic blockers such as clonidine (Catapres); beta adrenergic blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin) and combined alpha, beta blockers such as labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate)
  • Antidepressants including amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), desipramine (Norpramin), parnate (Tranylcypromine) and phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Muscle relaxants, including cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), methocarbamol (Robaxin) and baclofen (Lioresal)
  • Urologic drugs such as oxybutynin (Ditropan), tolterodine (Detrol) and yohimbe (Procomil)
  • Cardiac drugs including disopyramide phosphate (Norpace)
  • The Parkinson’s medication carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet)
  • Decongestants and sleeping aids (many are over the counter) including chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton), pseudoephedrine (Pseudofed), hydroxyzine (Atarax) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

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