Dry Mouth - It's More Than a Medication Side Effect - It Can Be A Health Hazard

GSK Survey Shows Americans Don't Know The Truth About Dry Mouth

Jun 26, 2013, 11:00 ET from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

PITTSBURGH, June 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While prescription drug use is on the rise, medication side effects are discouraging Americans from following their prescribed treatment plans. Many are not aware they can treat symptoms of some common side effects with over-the-counter healthcare products, according to a new survey of 1,040 Americans by Wakefield Research for Biotene, the leading dry mouth symptom treatment.

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Over half (52%) of Americans surveyed who are currently taking a prescribed medication have stopped or wanted to stop taking a medication due to side effects. Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) adults have completely stopped taking a medication because of the side effects. Specifically, 21% of those who have ever wanted to stop taking a medication said it was because they were experiencing dry mouth. Pharmacists may hold the key to unlocking this unfortunate reality by encouraging and increasing dialog with their patients.

"We want you to ask us about medication side effects and what to do if you experience them," said Pamala S. Marquess, Pharm.D, president of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, East Marietta Drugs chain store owner, and compensated Biotene spokesperson. "Our job is to also let you to know what side effects you may experience with your medication and counsel you to use the correct product for your level of severity. For example, dry mouth is a very common side effect, so it's important to treat its symptoms to avoid creating other medical issues. As a pharmacist, I can tell you that Biotene is the number one pharmacist-recommended dry mouth symptom treatment."

Dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of medications. Many common medications can cause dry mouth or list it as a side effect like antidepressants, antianxiety, antihistamines, antipsychotics along with the commonly used medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. With 50% of Americans on a prescription drug it is likely that many people are experiencing this condition. If left untreated, medication side effects like dry mouth can cause even more oral health problems. For example, 68% of those surveyed didn't know dry mouth can lead to cavities.

"Dry mouth increases the likelihood of tooth decay by approximately 3 times because of the lack of saliva that naturally protects teeth and gums," said Sharon Joseph, senior brand manager, Biotene. "Biotene's focus is on helping people identify and treat their dry mouth symptoms. We want to encourage further dialog between patients and pharmacists, having patients ask what to do about side effects, and encouraging pharmacists to share and recommend life-enhancing symptom treatments to address possible side effects."


  • Do you take one or more medications daily?
  • Does your mouth usually feel dry?
  • Do you regularly do things to keep your mouth moist?
  • Do you get out of bed at night to drink fluids?
  • Does your mouth usually become dry when you speak?

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a persistent feeling that there is not enough saliva in your mouth. Dry mouth affects millions of Americans - approximately 1 in 4 adults - especially women, older people and those using commonly prescribed medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. Medication is the most prevalent cause with 50% of Americans on at least 1 prescription medication. Of the 31 million Americans who suffer from dry mouth, 11 million are because of medications. These can include everyday medicines such as over-the-counter cold remedies and antihistamines, anti-depressants, and medications for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Other causes of dry mouth may include cancer and radiation treatment, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren's Syndrome. The effects of dry mouth may be severe, moderate or mild. Mild sufferers of dry mouth are unlikely to even know they are affected while many with severe dry mouth suffer feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment. For more information about dry mouth, visit Biotene.com.

About Biotene
Biotene offers a full line of products designed specifically to relieve symptoms of dry mouth and related oral irritation often triggered by medications, diabetes, Sjogren's Syndrome and cancer treatments. The Biotene product range is divided into three categories: moisturizing relief products (gel and mouth spray), hygiene products (toothpaste and oral rinse) and a stimulation product (gum).

About the Survey
The Biotene Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,040 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older between May 1st and May 8th, 2013, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.

About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. Its well-known brands include Nicorette® and NicoDerm® CQ, the leading smoking cessation products; abreva, the only FDA-approved OTC cold sore treatment to speed healing; alli, the only FDA-approved OTC weight loss aid; as well as medicine cabinet staples, Aquafresh®, Sensodyne,® Tums® and Breathe Right,® all of which are trademarks owned by and/or licensed to GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

About GlaxoSmithKline® 
GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information visit: GSK.com.

Media Relations:

Maria Potter

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

(724) 417-8803

Betsy Helgager Hughes

BLH Consulting for GSK Consumer Healthcare

(404) 771-9793


SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare