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Dysphagia. 2009 Jun;24(2):159-66. doi: 10.1007/s00455-008-9187-7. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

Prescription drugs and their effects on swallowing.

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Speech & Language Therapy and Audiology Department, Peamount, Newcastle, Co. Dublin, Ireland.


The impact of medications on the physiology of swallowing has received much attention in dysphagia literature. This article reviews the potential effects of medications commonly prescribed in an adult continuing care and rehabilitation facility on swallowing. An audit of medications prescribed to 153 adults accessing age-related respiratory, neurology, and learning disability services was performed. This was followed by an investigation of relevant sources to identify the potential side effects of these medications. One side effect, namely, xerostomia, which our investigations revealed could be a side effect of 24.8% of the medications used at our institution, was further investigated. The prevalence of xerostomia was then investigated in a randomly selected sample of ten subjects whose dysphagia had been confirmed by videofluoroscopy. It was found that six of the ten dysphagic clients displayed xerostomia. Review of the medications of these ten subjects indicated that all were using from three to nine drugs that could cause xerostomia. This article highlights the need for health-care professionals to consider the potential effects of these medications on swallowing and, indeed, the general presentation of clients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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