Long-term scopolamine treatment and dental caries

Eran Galili*, Elor Averbuch Zehavi, Yehuda Zadik, Tomm Caspi, Liron Meltzer, Ilan Merdler, Jonathan Kuten, Dror Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate whether scopolamine, an anticholinergic agent which induces hyposalivation, represents a risk factor for the occurrence of dental caries. Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort study was carried out among sailors treated with scopolamine for seasickness. The study population included 370 young healthy male adults (18–30 years old) who served in the Israel Navy between 2012 and 2016. Of these, 66 subjects who were chronically treated with intermittent administration of scopolamine, either by the oral or transdermal route, were assigned to the study group. Documented subject characteristics included age, socioeconomic status, level of education, body mass index, smoking history, and dental hygiene. Follow-up lasted 1 to 3.5 years. Results: Two- to 3.5-year follow-up revealed a higher risk of dental caries in 15 of 16 subjects (93.8%) treated with an average of 50.9 mg scopolamine, in contrast to only 71 of 108 control subjects (65.7%) (RR = 1.43, p = 0.02 [95% CI = 1.18–1.72]). Follow-up for 1–1.5 years revealed a lower occurrence of dental caries in both the study group (11/22, 50.0%) and the control group (46/104, 44.2%). Follow-up of 1.5–2 years also revealed less dental caries, in 16/28 subjects (57.1%) in the study group and 51/92 subjects (55.4%) in the control group. The differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: In healthy young adults, prolonged intermittent use of scopolamine was found to be a risk factor for the development of dental caries. Clinical significance: Dental care and hygiene should be intensified when administering hyposalivatory anticholinergic agents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2339-2344
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Dental caries
  • Hyoscine
  • Scopolamine
  • Xerostomia


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