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Drug-induced dysphagia
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Drug-induced dysphagia

Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Paritosh Prasad MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Drug-induced dysphagia is a subjective sensation of difficulty swallowing or dysfunctional swallowing due to the effects of medication. This can manifest as difficulty initiating a swallow, a choking or coughing sensation, or aspiration. Drug classes that may contribute to difficulty swallowing include neuroleptics, chemotherapy agents, antihypertensives, tricyclic antidepressants, anticholinergics, antihistamines, antiparkinsonian agents, and other drugs that impair saliva production.

Optimal treatment of drug-induced dysphagia is discontinuation of the offending agent. If that is not feasible, changing formulations, increasing water intake concurrent with dosing, or swallow rehabilitation may be helpful.

Related Topics: Drug-induced cough, Drug-induced esophagitis


T50.995A – Adverse effect of other drugs, medicaments and biological substances, initial encounter

40739000 – Dysphagia

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Drug-induced esophagitis
  • Infectious Esophagitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Esophageal stricture – peptic, pill-induced, radiation-induced
  • Esophageal carcinoma
  • Schatzki ring
  • Esophageal motility disorder
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Functional dysphagia
  • Lymphocytic esophagitis
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Cerebral stroke

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:07/02/2018
Last Updated:07/12/2018
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Drug-induced dysphagia
A medical illustration showing key findings of Drug-induced dysphagia : Dysphagia
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.