Drugs That Cause Taste Disturbances: Understanding the Culprits


The sense of taste is a fundamental part of our daily lives, influencing our food choices, satisfaction with meals, and even our overall nutrition. However, there are instances where individuals experience taste disturbances, also known as dysgeusia. One of the lesser-known causes of dysgeusia is the use of certain medications. In this article, we’ll explore drugs that can lead to taste disturbances, their mechanisms, and what you can do if you’re facing this side effect.

Medications That May Cause Taste Disturbances

Medications associated with taste disturbance include:

  1. Antibiotics and antifungals
    • ampicillin
    • azithromycin
    • ciprofloxacin
    • clarithromycin
    • griseofulvin
    • metronidazole
    • ofloxacin
    • tetracycline
  2. Anticonvulsants
    • carbamazepine
    • phenytoin
  3. Antidepressants
    • amitriptyline
    • clomipramine
    • desipramine
    • doxepin
    • imipramine
    • nortriptyline
  4. Antihistamines and decongestants
    • chlorpheniramine
    • loratadine
    • pseudoephedrine
  5. Antihypertensives and cardiac medications
    • acetazolamide
    • amiloride
    • betaxolol
    • captopril
    • diltiazem
    • enalapril
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • nifedipine
    • propranolol
    • spironolactone
    • aspirin
    • clofibrate
    • phenidione
  6. Anti-inflammatory agents
    • colchicine
    • dexamethasone
    • gold
    • hydrocortisone
    • penicillamine
  7. Antimanic drug
    • lithium
  8. Antineoplastics
    • cisplatin
    • doxorubicin
    • methotrexate
    • vincristine
  9. Antiparkinsonian agents
    • Levodopa (Larodopa; with carbidopa)
  10. Antipsychotics
    • clozapine
    • trifluoperazine
  11. Antithyroid agents
    • propylthiouracil
    • carbimazole
  12. Lipid-lowering agents
    • fluvastatin
    • pravastatin
  13. Muscle relaxants
    • baclofen
    • dantrolene
  14. aspirin
  15. metformin
  16. griseofulvin

Understanding the Mechanism

The mechanisms behind medication-induced taste disturbances can vary. In some cases, medications may directly affect taste receptors on the tongue or disrupt the normal functioning of taste buds. In other instances, the medications may lead to changes in saliva composition, which can influence taste perception. Additionally, medications can sometimes cause inflammation of the oral mucosa, further contributing to dysgeusia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Are taste disturbances from medications permanent? A1: Not necessarily. In many cases, taste disturbances caused by medications are temporary and can resolve once you stop taking the medication. However, the duration of the disturbance can vary from person to person.

Q2: Can I continue taking my medication if it causes taste disturbances? A2: It’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen. They can evaluate your condition and determine if an alternative medication or dosage adjustment is possible.

Q3: How can I manage taste disturbances while taking medications? A3: You can try rinsing your mouth with water before and after taking the medication to help minimize the taste disturbance. Additionally, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing gum can sometimes alleviate the metallic or bitter taste.

Q4: Are there any specific medications that can help with taste disturbances? A4: There is no one-size-fits-all medication for taste disturbances, as the underlying cause and individual response to treatment can vary. Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on managing dysgeusia based on your specific situation.


While medications are essential tools in managing various health conditions, some can have unintended side effects, including taste disturbances. Being aware of potential risks associated with the medications you are taking and discussing any changes in your sense of taste with your healthcare provider is vital. Remember that not everyone will experience dysgeusia from these medications, and if you do, it is often manageable or reversible. Prioritize your health and well-being, and seek professional medical guidance when necessary.

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