Medication Side Effects

Recent studies show that 7 out of 10 elderly take at least one prescription medication, and up to 20% take five or more prescription drugs.  The most common medications taken by those over age 65 include lipid lowering drugs, medications for diabetes, and beta-blockers.

Gingival Overgrowth

Phenytoin, methotrexate, calcium channel blockers Gingival Overgrowth
IV bisphosphonates Osteonecrosis
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy Stomatitis and mucositis
Steroids Candidiasis
Nifedipine in type II diabetics Periodontal disease
Sugar containing medication preparations, e.g., syrups Dental Caries
Progesterone, nitrates, beta and calcium channel blockers Dental erosions due to gastric reflux
Antihypertensives, antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics Xerostomia


Zhang X, Hamadeh IS, Song S, et al. Osteonecrosis of the Jaw in the United States Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). J Bone Miner Res. 2016;31(2):336-340. doi:10.1002/jbmr.2693

Aghaloo TL, Tetradis S. Osteonecrosis of the Jaw in the Absence of Antiresorptive or Antiangiogenic Exposure: A Series of 6 Cases. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017;75(1):129-142. 

Hales CM, Servais J, Martin CB, Kohen D. Prescription drug use among adults aged 40–79 in the United States and Canada. NCHS Data
Brief, no 347. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2019.

Steinman MA, Hanlon JT. Managing medications in clinically complex elders: there's got to be a happy medium. JAMA 2010; 304(14): 1592-1601.

Mabi L, Papas A. Oral Implications of Polypharmacy in the Elderly. Dental Clinics of North America. 2014; 58(4): 783-796.