TMJ Guide

Propranolol Causing Bruxism:
The Sad Truth

Propranolol is a medication that has been used to regulate the masseter muscle (responsible for movements of the jaw muscle during chewing) activity on patients who exhibit symptoms of heavy sleep time Bruxism. Recent studies have however found that administration of this drug does not have much of a positive effect when used in the treatment of Bruxism. Indeed, some studies have suggested quite the opposite – that it is suspected that the drug propranolol causing Bruxism cannot be ruled out.


What is Bruxism?


Bruxism is an oral condition that involves teeth grinding and clenching. This condition exists in the form of a habit that differs widely in its severity and the consequential damage it incurs. Bruxism is often associated with stress related factors (and several other pathological causes). It is a multifactorial condition and a cure is not easily found through the regular course of a physician’s prescription.


The use of propranolol


The use of the drug propranolol is not primarily for Bruxism. Propranolol based drugs have been primarily used as anti depressants. This medication has been used simultaneously and commonly as a means to deal with Bruxism (although not indicated for treatment of Bruxism), probably because Bruxism as a condition does not have a clear cut solution in the form a single medication that can be used as a treatment. This leaves the way wide open for physicians to prescribe other drugs and methods that can bring relief to some of the symptoms of Bruxism (in some cases, especially those triggered by anxiety factors).


The use of propranolol has been seen to lead to some forms of side effects in some instances. Bruxism caused by the use of propranolol is a potential side effect that a user needs to be aware of. Although the use of propranolol has been used to relieve the teeth grinding motions by initiating relaxation of the facial muscles, on the other hand some research has shown that accumulation of propranolol in certain tissues can have possible consequences that are contrary to the intension of the drug use.


In cases where the use of propranolol is suspected to have caused or increased the symptoms of Bruxism, immediate discontinuation of the drug is recommended after consultation with the physician / specialist.


Treatment of Bruxism requires a holistic and multi disciplinary approach based on several corrective measures that can be commence at the individual level after verifying the root causes of the problem.

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