Study finds patients that have dry mouth use multiple medications
BALTIMORE Approximately 91% of dentists report that patients who are complaining about dry mouth are taking multiple medications, according to a nationwide member survey conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry released Thursday.
“The number of [dry mouth] xerostomia cases has increased greatly over time because people are taking more and more medications,” stated Cindy Kleiman, who presented the study. “General dentists are seeing this trend in their offices, which is why they are trying to learn all they can about this condition. The more they know, the better they will be at diagnosing and treating patients.”
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is caused by a decrease in salivary function. It affects approximately one in four Americans, placing more than 25% of people at risk for tooth decay. There are more than 400 prescription and non-prescription drugs associated with xerostomia, according to Raymond Martin, a dentist. “Anti-depressants, painkillers, diuretics, antihistamines, tranquilizers and anti-hypersensitives can all contribute to dry mouth,” he said. “People who take several of these medications are more susceptible.”
As indicated by the AGD survey, the most common symptoms reported by patients include constant thirst and difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking. Foamy or stringy saliva, irritation of the tongue, burning of the tissues inside the mouth, painful ulcerations and dentin hypersensitivity (extreme sensitivity in one or more teeth) are also dry mouth symptoms. Over time, xerostomia sufferers may experience extensive tooth decay, tooth loss or gingivitis due to the lack of saliva.
Out of the nearly 500 general dentists who responded, 89% believe prescription medications are the primary contributor to dry mouth. Aging, dehydration and salivary gland disease were also cited as major contributors. Approximately 68% of the dentists said constant thirst is the most common symptom communicated by patients; 44% said patients have difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking. More than 92% reported that patients attempt to increase salivary production by drinking water; less than 58% reported patients tried taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes, chewing sugar free gum or sucking on hard candy.
Epocrates launches OTC drug module
SAN MATEO, Calif. Epocrates on Thursday announced a new over-the-counter drug module enabling physicians and pharmacists to be more prepared for patient questions around use of OTCs.
“There are so many OTC options on the market now to treat ailments like allergies, colds and constipation, it is impossible to keep track of them all,” stated Jeanie Kim, pediatrician. “Especially my practice, I need to know both the active and inactive ingredients, and which flavor is most palatable for a child. Epocrates’ new OTC reference will be a huge help for me and my patients.”
“When customers come in with the flu, sending them down the medication aisle to see 50-plus remedies is not enough,” added pharmacist Fred Hirning. “Epocrates will help me find the right option for them that will not only help relieve their symptoms quickly, but will not cause any adverse reactions or interact with their other medications.”
The module is accessible by most smart phones, including iPhone.
H.D. Smith appoints two new executives
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. A wholesaler that supplies OTC and prescription drugs to retail and other pharmacies has appointed two new executives.
H.D. Smith announced Thursday the appointment of Jeff Greer as VP sales and Robert Dynek Jr. as VP purchasing and trade relations, saying the appointments part of an effort to bolster its growth potential.
As VP sales, Greer will lead the company’s efforts to expand into new service areas, while Dynek will have primary responsibility for purchasing and managing inventory service levels across business segments.
“Moving Jeff and Bob into corporate headquarters will take full advantage of growth potential for the company,” chairman and CEO Dale Smith said. “Together, they bring more than 50 years of expertise in pharmacy distribution and will be influential in helping us realize our goal of becoming the preferred pharmaceutical wholesaler nationwide.”