Interventions for the Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome
Interventions for the Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome
Zakrzewska JM, Forssell H, Glenny AM
Aust Dent J
vol. 50, 125 - 126, 2005


A burning sensation in the mouth can be a symptom of other disease or a syndrome of its own and of unknown etiology. The term burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is used in patients in whom no underlying dental or medical causes are identified and no oral signs are found. The prominent feature is the symptom of burning pain, which can be localized just to the tongue or lips but may also be more widespread, involving the entire oral cavity. The prevalence of BMS is reported to range from 0.7% to 15%. Many patients with BMS also show signs of anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. A literature search was conducted to determine the effectiveness and safety of any intervention versus placebo for the relief of symptoms and improvement in the quality of life of patients with BMS.


Searches were conducted of the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MED LINE, and EMBASE. Studies were selected if they were randomized controlled trials or controlled clinical trials comparing a placebo against one or more treatments. Articles were screened independently by 2 reviewers.


Nine trials were reviewed. The interventions examined included antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy, analgesics, hormone replacement therapy, alpha-lipoic acid, and anticonvulsants. Only alpha-lipoic acid, the anticonvulsant clonazepam, and cognitive behavioral therapy demonstrated a reduction in symptoms. Only 2 of the 9 studies reported using blind outcome assessment.


There is insufficient evidence to show that painkillers, hormones, or antidepressants are effective for relief of BMS; however, there is evidence that learning to cope with the disorder, anticonvulsants, and alpha-lipoic acid may help. Postmenopausal women are at highest risk of this syndrome.

Copyright © 2007, Elsevier Inc . All rights reserved.
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