Banner Portal
Xerostomia and dysgeusia in the elderly: prevalence of and association with polypharmacy


Drug interactions
Dental care for aged

How to Cite

Guimarães D de M, Parro YM, Muller HS, Coelho EB, Martins V de P, Santana R, et al. Xerostomia and dysgeusia in the elderly: prevalence of and association with polypharmacy. Braz. J. Oral Sci. [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 24 [cited 2024 Jun. 20];22(00):e236637. Available from:


Xerostomia is defined as the perception of dry mouth, and dysgeusia, as a change in taste. Both are common complaints in the elderly, especially among those making use of polypharmacy drug combinations. Aim: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of xerostomia and dysgeusia and to investigate their association with polypharmacy in the elderly. Methods: older people under follow-up at the Multidisciplinary Elderly Center of the University Hospital of Brasília were interviewed and asked about health problems, medications used, presence of xerostomia and dysgeusia. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the prevalence of the symptoms surveyed. The chi-square test was used to investigate the relationship between xerostomia and dysgeusia and polypharmacy. Secondary associations were performed using binomial logistic regression. Results: Ninety-six older people were evaluated and of these, 62.5% had xerostomia and 21.1%, had dysgeusia. The average number of medications used was 4±3 medications per individual. Polypharmacy was associated with xerostomia but not dysgeusia. It was possible to associate xerostomia with the use of antihypertensive drugs. Conclusion: Xerostomia was a frequent complaint among elderly people making use of polypharmacy, especially those using antihypertensives. Antihypertensives and antidepressants were used most drugs by the elderly and exhibited interactions with drugs most prescribed in Dentistry. Two contraindications were found between fluconazole and mirtazapine; and between erythromycin and simvastatin.


Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) 2019 [cited 2020 Oct 28]. Available from: Portuguese.

Ervatti LR, Borges GM, Jardim AP, organizators. [Demographic change in Brazil at the beginning of the 21st century – subsidies for population projections]. Rio de Janeiro: IBGE; 2015 [cited 2020 Oct 28]. Available from: Portuguese.

Roughead EE, Vitry AI, Caughey GE, Gilbert AL. Multimorbidity, care complexity and prescribing for the elderly. Aging health. 2011;7(5):695-705.

Rademacher WMH, Aziz Y, Hielema A, Cheung KC, de Lange J, Vissink A, et al. Oral adverse effects of drugs: Taste disorders. Oral Dis. 2020 Jan;26(1):213-23. doi: 10.1111/odi.13199.

Masnoon N, Shakib S, Kalisch-Ellett L, Caughey GE. What is polypharmacy? A systematic review of definitions. BMC Geriatr. 2017 Oct;17(1):230. doi: 10.1186/s12877-017-0621-2.

Marcott S, Dewan K, Kwan M, Baik F, Lee YJ, Sirjani D. Where dysphagia begins: polypharmacy and xerostomia. Fed Pract. 2020 May;37(5):234-41.

Anil S, Vellappally S, Hashem M, Preethanath RS, Patil S, Samaranayake LP. Xerostomia in geriatric patients: a burgeoning global concern. J Investig Clin Dent. 2016 Feb;7(1):5-12. doi: 10.1111/jicd.12120.

Guggenheimer J, Moore PA. Xerostomia. Etiology, recognition and treatment. J Am Dent Assoc. 2003 Jan;134(1):61-9; quiz 118-9. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2003.0018.

Rech CA, Medeiros AW. [Xerostomia associated with drug use in elderly]. J Oral Investig. 2016;5(1):13-8. Portuguese. doi: 10.18256/2238-510X/j.oralinvestigations.v5n1p13-18.

Viljakainen S, Nykänen I, Ahonen R, Komulainen K, Suominen AL, Hartikainen S, et al. Xerostomia among older home care clients. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2016 Jun;44(3):232-8. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12210.

Pedersen AML, Sørensen CE, Proctor GB, Carpenter GH, Ekström J. Salivary secretion in health and disease. J Oral Rehabil. 2018 Sep;45(9):730-46. doi: 10.1111/joor.12664.

Syed Q, Hendler KT, Koncilja K. The impact of aging and medical status on dysgeusia. Am J Med. 2016 Jul;129(7):753.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.02.003.

Tong JY, Wong A, Zhu D, Fastenberg JH, Tham T. The prevalence of olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 Jul;163(1):3-11. doi: 10.1177/0194599820926473.

Barbe AG. Medication-induced xerostomia and hyposalivation in the elderly: culprits, complications, and management. Drugs aging. 2018 Oct;35(10):877-85. doi: 10.1007/s40266-018-0588-5.

Botelho J, MacHado V, Proença L, Oliveira MJ, Cavacas MA, Amaro L, et al. Perceived xerostomia, stress and periodontal status impact on elderly oral health-related quality of life: Findings from a cross-sectional survey. BMC Oral Health. 2020 Jul;20(1):199. doi: 10.1186/s12903-020-01183-7.

Bertollo AL, Demartini C, Piato AL. Drug interactions in dental clinic. Rev Bras Odontol. 2013;70(2):120-4.

Alic A, Pranjic N, Ramic E. Polypharmacy and decreased cognitive abilities in elderly patients. Med Arh. 2011;65(2):102-5.

Fernandes MS, Castelo PM, Chaves GN, Fernandes JPS, Fonseca FLA, Zanato LE, et al. Relationship between polypharmacy, xerostomia, gustatory sensitivity, and swallowing complaints in the elderly: a multidisciplinary approach. J Texture Stud. 2021 Apr;52(2):187-96. doi: 10.1111/jtxs.12573.

Agostini BA, Cericato GO, da Silveira ER, Nascimento GG, Costa FDS, Thomson WM, et al. How common is dry mouth? Systematic review and meta-regression analysis of prevalence estimates. Braz Dent J. 2018 Nov-Dec;29(6):606-18. doi: 10.1590/0103-6440201802302.

Gomes DRP, Schirmer CL, Nolte AOA, Bós AJG, Venzke JG. [Evaluation of the taste of older people and their relationship with nutritional state and food habits]. PAJAR. 2020;8(1):1-8. Portuguese. doi: 10.15448/2357-9641.2020.1.37707.

Aziz M, Perisetti A, Lee-Smith WM, Gajendran M, Bansal P, Goyal H. Taste changes (Dysgeusia) in COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastroenterology. 2020 Sep;159(3):1132-3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.003. Epub 2020 May 5.

Lopes ACF, Pereira CSS, Fernandes FL, Valente LC, Valadão AF, Abreu MNS, et al. Prevalence of gustatory changes in elderly people under chronic medication use. Geriatr Gerontol Aging. 2015;9(4):132-7. Portuguese. doi: 10.5327/Z2447-2115201500040002.

Travassos GF, Coelho AB, Arends-Kuenning MP. The elderly in Brazil: Demographic transition, profile, and socioeconomic condition. Rev Bras Estud Popul. 2020;37:1-27. doi: 10.20947/S0102-3098a0129.

Cesar G, Franco N, Cogo K, Montan MF, Groppo FC, Volpato MC. [Drug interactions: factors related to the patient (Part I)]. Rev Cir Traumatol BucoMaxilo-Fac. 2007;7(1):17-27.

Simvastatin. [Package insert for the drug Simvastatin®]. Américo Brasiliense/SP. Folk Remedy Foundation; 2017 [cited 2020 Oct 28]. Available from: Portuguese.

DynaMed [database online]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO Information Services [cited 2021 Jun 28]. Available from:

Sousa ITC, Pestana AM, Araujo MAR. [Clinical implications of the use of NSAIDs in hypertensive patients: drug interactions in dentistry]. Rev Bras Hipertens. 2019;26(3):91-6. Portuguese.

Ouanounou A, Haas DA. Pharmacotherapy for the elderly dental patient. J Can Dent Assoc. 2015;80:f18.

Levorato CD, de Mello LM, da Silva AS, Nunes AA. [Factors associated with the demand for health services from a gender-relational perspective]. Cien Saude Colet. 2014 Apr;19(4):1263-74. Portuguese. doi: 10.1590/1413-81232014194.01242013.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2022 Danielly de Mendonça Guimarães, Yeda Maria Parro, Herick Sampaio Muller, Eduardo Barbosa Coelho, Vicente de Paulo Martins, Rafael Santana, Érica Negrini Lia


Download data is not yet available.