In my years of practice, I have heard this quite a bit, “My breath was fine until that doctor gave me that prescription”. Can prescriptive medications cause bad breath? Plain and simply, yes.
Medications have value but there is no question that for every good and intended effect there are also undesirable side-effects. The side effects can be minimal to sometimes, severe. Although some scientists would call “bad breath” a minimal side=effect to a medication, may patient’s would adamantly disagree because bad breath can affect so may parts of their lives.
Medications often cause bad breath through two means, dry mouth changes or chemical changes. Many anti-depressant are notorious for creating a dry-mouth condition, called xerostomia, such as Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin or Zoloft. Saliva production is a natural “wetting” agent in the mouth for speech and initial stages of digestion. With reduces saliva, natural bacteria grows unabated creating odors, ie, bad breath.
Other medications that can cause dry-mouth conditions are Adipex-P, an appetite suppressant, Accutane that helps with acne, Flexeril, a muscle relaxant and Loratadine is an antihistamine used to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, cold or allergy symptoms, or itching. These are a but a few medications that can cause bad breath from the side effect of xerostomia.
Then there are a few medications that can cause bad breath problems though a change in chemistry. Some of these medications are Valium, Lorazepam and Xanax, used for anxiety and Albuterol, a bronchodilator that relaxes airway muscles for greater lung air flow. Again, just a few more prescriptive medications that can cause bad breath.
So what is a person, a patient, to do? The answer is simple by asking the question? “Where do I make the greatest gain, from the medication or not taking the medication? Of course, this is best answered by working with your prescribing doctor explaining your bad breath problem and how best to approach an answer. Sometimes, the doctor will adjust the prescription dosage and/or work directly with an odontologist familiar with bad breath and prescriptive medications. In the end, it is often very controllable when all the professionals are involved assisting the patient clinically and educationally.
Go to my video MEDICATION AND BAD BREATH at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y4zAP-uSCw&feature=youtu.be or visit my BLOG site BETTER BREATH 4 BETTER HEALTH at https://neutralizerplus.wixsite.com/mysite.
Steven Jaksha DMD, Odontology, Oral Diseases, Bad Breath Specialist
San Diego, CA