Q: Which medication can cause gingival overgrowth?
pharmacology, gingival overgrowth, dental hygiene exam prep

Q: Which medication can cause gingival overgrowth?

Pharmacology for dental hygiene, giving you a nightmare?

pharmacology, gingival overgrowth, dental hygiene exam prep

Q: Which medication causes gingival overgrowth?

(A). Cyclosporine
(B). Diuretic
(C). Insulin
(D). Metronidazole

The image shows gingiva that has grown excessively. This is called gingival hyperplasia or gingival overgrowth. It is generally related to 3 types of drugs:

  • Cyclosporine (anti-organ rejection) (e.g., Sandimmune)
  • Calcium channel blocker (anti-hypertension) (e.g., nifedipine – Procardia)
  • Phenytoin (anti-seizure) (e.g., Dilantin)

Among the answer choices, cyclosporine is on that list for medications that can cause gingival hyperplasia. Insulin does NOT necessarily affect the oral cavity, but patients who are diabetic may show delayed wound healing and are more susceptible to periodontal diseases. Metronidazole can cause black hairy tongue and metallic taste.

Answer: (A). Cyclosporine

Now, how will you memorize the 3 drugs?

We need to use our imagination. The success of memorization is based on our ability to “link” the given information to something we already know, then creating a “weird” image. This is how memory champions remember things. You can dig into the web about “memory champions” and you will find the same information.

Well, in dental hygiene, we have a whole lot of medications to learn. This knowledge makes us #Superstar dental hygienists. Let me show you want I teach during my presentation. Warning: You HAVE to use your imagination (a lot).

  • Cyclosporine -> Imagine a bicycle -> See the round wheel of the bicycle -> The round wheel reminds you of the round gum (gingival overgrowth)
  • Calcium channel blocker -> Take the C C and rotate the second C -> Make an “O” -> Now imagine that the O is the opening of your garden hose -> Imagine water flowing out of this hose -> Now you BLOCK the opening -> Water will collect and the hose will swell -> This reminds you of swelled gum (gingival overgrowth)
  • Phenytoin -> “phen” sounds exactly like “fan”, the device you would use in the summer -> A fan is (usually) round -> The round fan reminds you of the round gum (gingival overgrowth)

I know, it sounds like a stretch. But now you have done this exercise once, you bet you will remember those 3 drugs related to gingival enlargement much EASIER.

The national dental hygiene board exams (NBDHE, NDHCE) and CSCE exam love asking about pharmacology and common oral side effects of drugs. StudentRDH has a 99% + success rate! We believe that it is because we provide you with the BEST SUMMARY for all chapters you need to pass the national boards.

Do you want a little more?

Just to add a bit more to today’s lesson, let’s quickly review drugs that are related to xerostomia:

  • Anti-histamine drugs (e.g., Benadryl)
  • Anti-depressant drugs (e.g., fluoxetine – Prozac)
  • Anti-psychotic drugs (e.g., clozapine – Clozaril)
  • Anti-anxiety drugs (e.g., diazepam – Valium)
  • Anti-emetic drugs (e.g., AlkaSeltzer)
  • Anti-Parkinson’s drugs (e.g., Levodopa)
  • Anti-allergic drugs (e.g., loratadine – Claritin)
  • Diuretic anti-hypertensive drugs (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide – HCTZ)

When it comes to drugs that cause xerostomia for the dental hygiene board exams (NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE), I imagine them creating some sort of “calming” effect to the body to make it “normal” again. Look at the list again: Benadryl (yes, it calms allergies), Prozac (yes, it calms the body to become more normal and not depressed), anti-psychotic (yes, it calms craziness). I think you understand the concept here.

Remember, you can do anything you desire. Just make up your mind and believe in yourself! Do it NOW!

If you want to read more about cyclosporine and gingival hyperplasia, continue with this research study published on Dental Research Journal (the image is from the research).

Related post: [YouTube] Video on “Memorize local anesthetics using celebrity names”

(Disclaimer: StudentRDH is NOT affiliated with the NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, CDCA, WREB.)

Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS

Follow @studentrdh

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