When I first started taking amitriptyline, I went straight back to my doctor complaining about how fry my mouth suddenly became. I couldn’t even speak. I couldn’t swallow food. It was unbearable. Apparently, dry mouth and lips are both a really common side effect of taking amitriptyline and plenty of other medications too, but why is no one talking about this?
I recently posted a picture on my instagram of a pile of Salivix boxes on my bed. Salivix are some sweets that help stimulate saliva and I think they’re actually recommended for cancer patients. No one had heard of them, but plenty of people were struggling along with the dry mouth side effect of medication.
I think no one talks about it, because it’s just a side effect of medication and you assume that it’s going to happen & there’s no stopping it if it does.. But there are plenty of little things you can do about your dry mouth to make your life just a bit easier.
Don’t eat foods that will make your mouth even more dry. I know this is probably the most obvious thing, but I didn’t actually think about this until weeks into my dry mouth problems. Crackers? No. Bread? No. Sugary things? No.
Go to your chemist and get some Salivix or some other saliva stimulants and supplements. There are plenty of things that your local pharmacist will be able to recommend that you don’t need a prescription for. I’ve tried a few different gels (like squeezing toothpaste into your mouth – a month flavoured gel in a tube!) but what I found to be best were the Salivix ‘sweets’ that you chew or suck to give yourself a very wet mouth. Very satisfying and subtle!
Try your GP. For the things you can’t buy over the counter, you will need to see your GP for a prescription and, once you’ve tried and tested the saliva stimulants you can just buy, you might be best discussing things further with a doctor. You’ll already know what works for you so far and what doesn’t.. and what you feel like you need from your prescription. I’m sure your doctor will be able to recommend something that will suit you.
See your dentist. Your dry mouth will affect your dental hygiene. I’m not a dentist, so I’m not going to give you all the ins and outs, but your dentist will be able to help you manage living with a dry mouth and keeping your teeth clean and healthy!
But do try to skip the mouthwash! Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can really dry your mouth out..
Invest in a few good travel mugs, ‘sippy cups’ & water bottles. I have enough water bottles in my house to hydrate 50 people. When I first started taking amitriptyline, I had to have a water bottle on my desk at work and drink from it every 30 seconds, or more if I needed to speak! I didn’t have to spend a fortune, I simply nipped to B&M & spent a fiver on five different work water bottles and they worked a charm. Sometimes I end up with six different water bottles on the go around my house on a day off work, so I have a drink everywhere I potter, in every room I wander into and I love it.
Drink before you’re absolutely desperate for a drink. “The best defence is a good offence” and all that jazz!
Avoid chewing gum. If your body isn’t producing enough saliva, chewing gum won’t help you stimulate your saliva glands like it would before you started taking medication. I assumed this would work, but I needed something much stronger, it turned out. Chewing gum normally lets your body know you’re about to ‘eat’ and tricks you into saliva production, but you’re in a whole different ball game on amitriptyline. Chewing gum can also contain a lot of sugar, which isn’t good for an already dry mouth.
Ditch the brews. Caffeine also can dry out your mouth. Try to swap your usual warm 10am brew of coffee or tea for a cool refreshing drink of water.
Invest in some good cordials for your drinks. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. If you’re going to be drinking a lot of water, sometimes you’re going to want a bit of flavour. My personal favourite is Vimto!
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