According to recent study, patients that suffer from asthma and a condition called xerostomia (or dry mouth syndrome), have poor levels of controlled disease. The results of the study entitled “Xerostomia relates to the degree of asthma control,” were published in the current issue of the Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine.
Bronchial asthma is currently defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, whose pathogenesis involves various cells and mediators of inflammation, conditioned in part by genetic factors. Recommended treatments for asthma involve inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), alone or in association with b-2 adrenergic agonists. However, these have been shown to relate with adverse effects. One of ICS’ least studied adverse responses is their effect on xerostomia (dry mouth), a general reduction in salivary output, and is described by patients as causing a difficulty speaking or swallowing, dysgeusia, generalized oral discomfort, sore mouth, a burning sensation, and poor retention of artificial dentures.
The research team led by Professor Pedro José Romero Palacios, from the University of Granada in collaboration with the High Resolution Hospital in Loja, Spain, in a observational, cross-sectional study examined the relationship between xerostomia and the use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in a total of 57 patients with asthma and a 17 healthy control group. Of the total sample 87.7% (50 patients) had xerostomia (assessed with the Xerostomia Inventory, XI), with no differences between the study groups or current dose of ICS. Asthma control was assessed with the ACT (asthma control test).
Using logistic regression, the results revealed that patients with uncontrolled asthma had lower levels in the XI compared to those with controlled asthma. Furthermore, the results revealed that the scores on the XI test were associated to ACT scores, thus suggesting that there is a relationship between the levels of asthma control and severity of xerostomia.
“Our data indicate that treatments with high ICs doses diminish the production of salivary protein MUC5B, which has a protective function on the buccal mucosa” said Pedro José Romero Palacios, full professor at the Medicine department, University of Granada, and principal investigator in this research, in a recent news release.
This study highlights the high prevalence of xerostomia in a group of asthmatic patients. In addition, results revealed a moderately strong relationship between the degree of asthma control and the severity of xerostomia. The researchers strongly suggest that information about a patient’s xerostomia symptoms could be of clinical usefulness.