Check Your Medication(s)
Many medications cause dry eyes and mouth — and alternatives can be used that do not have this side effect. Bring this up with your doctor at your visit and ask your pharmacist if any of your medications are likely to cause dry eyes or mouth. The most common culprits include:
- Antihistamines — Including Benadryl, Zyrtec and Claritin. Benadryl and other antihistamines are often found in over the counter sleep aids.
- Antidepressants — Elavil is a major trigger of dry eyes and mouth, but most antidepressants can cause this problem. Cymbalta and Savella, though used for fibromyalgia pain, are also antidepressants.
- Birth Control Pills — May cause dry eyes as a side effect. However, pregnancy is also known to cause dry eyes. Testosterone cream applied to the upper eyelids was reported to help those with dry eyes, but I have not been able to confirm this finding.
- Diuretics — These drugs are mostly used to treat high blood pressure.
- ACE Inhibitors — Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are mostly used to treat high blood pressure.
- Acne Drugs — Including Accutane and high dose vitamin A.
Treat Nutritional Deficiencies
- Add fish oil — this is especially important.
- B vitamins and magnesium.
Symptomatic Relief for Dry Eyes
- The medication Restasis eyedrops
- Plugging up the tear draining ducts (in severe cases)
- Discuss with your eye doctor
Symptomatic Relief for Dry Mouth
- Drink sips of water throughout the day as needed.
- Avoid sugar and sodas. Dental problems can be severe with dry mouth, and eating a lot of sugar can make these much worse.
- Lemon juice (e.g., lemonade made with 3 and 1/2 cups of water, 1/4-1/2 cup of lemon juice, and about 50 drops of Stevia to taste (brand is important — I use the one from Body Ecology, also available from 1-800-4STEVIA). Lemon juice stimulates saliva flow. Do not use lemonade containing sugar (if it has more than 5 calories it has sugar) as it can rot your teeth.
- Suck on sugar free lemon drops or other hard candy or chew sugar free gum. Be sure these are sugar free!
- Ask your dentist about saliva substitutes.
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