Oral manifestations of adverse drug reactions: guidelines

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Adverse drug reactions are noxious and unintended responses to a medicinal product.


Many drugs have the potential to induce adverse reactions in the mouth. The extent of such reactions is unknown; however, because a lot of them are asymptomatic, many are believed to go unnoticed. Adverse oral drug reactions are responsible for oral lesions and manifestations that can mime local or systemic disease.


Their pathogenesis, especially of the mucosal reactions, is largely unknown and appears to involve complex interactions between the drug in question, other medications, the patient's underlying disease, genetics and lifestyle factors.


In this study, we have listed the principal signs and symptoms of oral and perioral adverse drug reactions and the responsible drugs. Diagnosis for adverse drug reaction is not easy given also the limited utility of laboratory tests. The association between a drug and an adverse drug reaction is mostly based on the disappearance of the reactions following discontinuance of the offending drug.


Sometimes, it is useful to perform rechallenge tests reintroducing the drug to establish cause and effect.


Knowledge of adverse drug-induced oral effects helps health professionals to better diagnose oral disease, administer drugs and improve patient compliance during drug therapy and may foster a more rational use of drugs.

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