Exposure to the oral side effects of medication in a community-based sample

Rosemary S. Shinkai, John P. Hatch, Caroline B. Schmidt, Evandro A. Sartori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This descriptive study assessed the self-reported medications taken by 1,163 European-American and Mexican-American community-dwelling adults (age range 32 to 81 years of age) from the Oral Health: San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (OH:SALSA) sample and reports on the potential oral side effects (OSE) of their medications. Data collection included sociodemographic characteristics, number of prescription and non-prescription drugs, and frequency of potential OSE. Medications were checked in three drug references, and all potential OSE were classified into 16 major categories. The mean number of medications taken per subject was 2.7. Persons 65 years or older, females, European Americans, and suburban residents reported taking more drugs than their counterparts. There was no difference in the number of drugs taken due to income or education (p>0.05). The Spearman rank order correlation between age and number of medications was 0.30 (p<0.001). The most frequent potential OSE was dry mouth in 664 subjects (57%), followed by bleeding in 456 (39%), alteration in taste of 389 (33%), and stomatitis in 331 (28%). The distribution of subjects with respect to number of potential OSE was: none, 20%; 1 to 2, 24%; 3 to 4, 26%; 5 to 6, 14%; and 7 or more, 16%. Many older community-dwelling persons may be at risk for multiple oral complications due to medications they are taking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Adverse drug reaction
  • Medication
  • Oral side effects
  • Polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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