EFFECTS OF MEDICATIONS ON THE SENSE OF TASTE

Many medications have been associated anecdotally with loss of taste or with taste phantoms (45); however, few have been evaluated with careful clinical studies.

More work in this area would be valuable, because these effects may have important implications for taste physiology and for patient care. Anecdotal observations are very valuable as an indication of where taste investigators should focus study but rarely provide insights into mechanism.

When medications are associated with phantom tastes, the clinician should first evaluate the possibility that the medication itself is the source of the taste. Medications taken orally enter the blood and from there may enter crevicular fluid and saliva. In addition, they may be tasted from blood directly (see Venous Taste, above). Medications used in chemotherapy provide excellent examples (46). When drugs are tasted in this way, the taste sensitivities of the patient may play a role in the detection of the drug. For example, those most genetically sensitive to bitter taste would be expected to taste more bitterness in medications.

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