Possible paroxetine-induced bruxism

Frank Romanelli, David A. Adler, Kathleen M. Bungay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To report the case of a patient with possible paroxetine- induced bruxism that was effectively treated with buspirone. CASE SUMMARY: A 20-year-old woman with no active medical conditions besides ache and no history of dental problems was seen in an outpatient psychiatry clinic for the evaluation of ongoing depression. The patient was prescribed paroxetine 10 mg every morning. After 5 days of therapy the patient reported no adverse effects, and the paroxetine dosage was increased to 20 mg every morning. Due to increased somnolence, the dosing schedule was subsequently changed to 20 mg hs. Two months later during a dental visit for a tooth extraction, the dentist noted that the patient's teeth appeared damaged in what he believed to be a pattern consistent with the grinding and clenching of teeth. Prior to this time, dental examinations had not revealed any tooth damage. The patient was thought to have paroxetine induced bruxism and, based on earlier case reports, was treated with buspirone 5 mg hs. On day 4 of buspirone therapy the patient reported a significant reduction in the extent of gritting, tooth pain, and jaw tenderness. DISCUSSION: The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fluoxetine and sertraline have been associated with bruxism in previous reports. This case suggests paroxetine-induced bruxism. The exact mechanism of SSRI-induced bruxism remains unclear. Many theories have been proposed, including sleep disturbance, serotonergic-mediated inhibition of dopamine manifesting as akathisia, and SSRI-induced anxiety. According to published reports, SSRI-induced bruxism may respond to therapy with buspirone. Consistent with these reports, this patient responded favorably to buspirone therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should be aware that the potential for paroxetine-induced bruxism exists and that buspirone may be an appropriate therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1248
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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