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Lithium and Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a possible side effect of lithium. If you are taking lithium and dry mouth becomes a problem, there are some things you can do. Try sucking on hard candy, sipping water or sugarless drinks often, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. If you continue to experience dry mouth with lithium, your healthcare provider may recommend artificial saliva or switch you to a different medication.

Does Lithium Cause a Dry Mouth?

Lithium (Eskalith®, Eskalith CR®, Lithobid®) is a prescription medication approved to treat bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Like other medications, it can cause side effects. One of the possible side effects of lithium is a dry mouth. However, as is common with older medications like lithium, the exact percentage of people who developed a dry mouth while taking the drug was not reported.

Lithium and Dry Mouth: Suggestions

If you are experiencing a dry mouth while taking lithium, there are a number of things that you can do that may provide relief. Some of these suggestions include the following:
  • Use a humidifier at night.
  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
  • Sip water or sugarless drinks during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
  • Avoid tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth.
  • Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; cinnamon- or mint-flavored candies are good choices.
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