Proposed Treatments for Burning Mouth Syndrome
Proposed Treatments for Burning Mouth Syndrome
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 04/01/2009

Principal Proposed Treatments for Burning Mouth Syndrome

The supplement lipoic acid has shown promise for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, another form of neuropathic pain. Lipoic acid has also been studied for burning mouth syndrome with mixed results.5

In a double-blind trial, 60 people with burning mouth syndrome received either lipoic acid (200 mg 3 times daily) or placebo for a period of months.1 Researchers reported that almost all people receiving lipoic acid showed significant improvement, while none of those taking placebo improved, and relative benefits endured at 12-month follow-up. The total lack of benefit seen in the placebo group is difficult to believe, and raises concerns about the study’s reliability. Subsequently, two double-blind trials involving 52 and 39 patients respectively failed to find any benefit for lipoic acid and noted quite a large placebo response.5,6

For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full Lipoic Acid article.

Other Proposed Treatments for Burning Mouth Syndrome

The yeast Candida albicans can infect the mouth, causing a condition called “thrush.” Thrush may cause symptoms similar to BMS. Some alternative practitioners believe that excessive candida, or hypersensitivity to it (see Yeast Hypersensitivity), is the cause of many illnesses. For this reason, they recommend using anti-yeast treatments to treat BMS. However, there is no direct evidence to support this approach, and it appears that people with BMS are no more likely to have measurable detectible candida in the mouth than people without it.2

Inconsistent evidence suggests that people with BMS might have deficiencies in various nutrients, such as vitamins B1, B2, and B6, and zinc.3 However, there is no evidence as yet that supplementation with these nutrients will have any effect on BMS symptoms.

A placebo-controlled trial involving 39 patients failed to show any significant benefit for 12 weeks of treatment with Hypericum perforatum extract ( St. John’s wort).4

Herbs and Supplements to Avoid

Numerous herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat burning mouth syndrome. For more information on this potential risk, see the individual drug articles in the Drug Interactions section of this database.

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