Xerostomia, the subjective sensation of dry mouth, contributes to dysarthria, dysphagia, and diminished quality of life. Polypharmacy is a known and modifiable risk factor for xerostomia. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of dry mouth, the relationship between dry mouth and other oral conditions, and the impact of polypharmacy on dry mouth.This study was a retrospective cross-sectional study of all patients seen in fiscal year (FY) 2015 (October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015) at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS), a tertiary care US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. Patients diagnosed with xerostomia were identified using ICD-9 codes (527.7, 527.8, R68.2) and Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) codes (87715008, 78948009).Of all the patients seen at VAPAHCS during FY 2015, 138 had a diagnostic code for xerostomia; of those patients, 84 had at least 1 documented speech, dentition, or swallowing (SDS) problem, and 55 (39.9%) were taking = 12 medications, more than twice as many patients as in any one of the other groups studied (0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11 medications taken). Although 4,971 total patients seen at VAPAHCS had documented SDS problems during FY 2015, of those patients only 77 (1.5%) had an additional recorded diagnosis of xerostomia.Heightened physician awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of and risk factors for xerostomia is needed to improve health care providers' ability to diagnose dry mouth. Polypharmacy also must be considered when developing new strategies for preventing and treating xerostomia.
View details for PubMedID 32454578
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7241606