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Classification and external resources

Hypersalivation (also called ptyalism[1] or sialorrhea[2]) is excessive production of saliva. It has also been defined as increased amount of saliva in the mouth, which may also be caused by decreased clearance of saliva.[3]

Hypersalivation can contribute to drooling if there is an inability to keep the mouth closed or difficulty in swallowing the excess saliva (dysphagia), which can lead to excessive spitting.

Hypersalivation also often precedes emesis (vomiting), where it accompanies nausea (a feeling of needing to vomit).[4]


Excessive production[edit]

Conditions that can cause saliva overproduction include:[3]

Medications that can cause overproduction of saliva include:[3]

Substances that can cause hypersalivation include:[3]

Decreased clearance[edit]

Causes of decreased clearance of saliva include:[3]


Hypersalivation is optimally treated by treating or avoiding the underlying cause.[3] Mouthwash and tooth brushing may have drying effects.[3]

In the palliative care setting, anticholinergics and similar drugs that would normally reduce the production of saliva causing a dry mouth could be considered for symptom management: scopolamine, atropine, propantheline, hyoscine, amitriptyline, glycopyrrolate.[8]

A 2008 systematic review investigated the efficacy of pharmacological interventions for patients who have too much salvia due to clozapine treatment:

Astemizole compared to control[9]
There is no well-tested treatment for this difficult problem and no data to confidently inform clinical practice.[9]


  1. ^ thefreedictionary.com > ptyalism Citing:
    • Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. 2007
    • Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. 2009
    • Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, 3 ed. 2007
  2. ^ thefreedictionary.com > sialorrhea Citing:
    • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Updated in 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Medscape > Hypersalivation By Erica Brownfield. Posted: 05/19/2004
  4. ^ Clark], [edited by Parveen Kumar, Michael (2005). Kumar & Clark clinical medicine (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Saunders. p. 266. ISBN 0702027634.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ thefreedictionary.com > water brash Citing: Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. 2007
  7. ^ [2] Rheumatology
  8. ^ Medical Care of the Dying, 4th Edition, 2006, Edited by G.Michael Downing MD and Wendy Wainwright, MEd
  9. ^ a b Syed, R; Cahill, C; Duggan, L (2008). "Pharmacological interventions for clozapine-induced hypersalivation". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3: CD005579.pub2. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005579.pub2. PMC 2632459.