Q. I experience severe dry mouth and memory problems on taking antibiotics. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Vaibhev Mittal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 04, 2019

Hello doctor,

I have a problem with dry eyes, mouth, and vagina. I cannot cry because there is no tear production. I also have episcleritis in my right eye. Now I am afraid that I have sjogren's syndrome. The other thing that is even worse is I cannot tolerate any antibiotics. I discovered that when I had to take antibiotics for UTI, Macrobid, Primatene, and Amoxiclav. They switched so many antibiotics because of such severe reactions, memory problems, not able to concentrate, to think, to remember, then like burning from inside, no salvia, fatigue, etc. I have even done EEG at that time, and it was abnormal. Doctor said that something is slowing your brain. I felt like a toxic reaction, the symptoms lasted for four months.

I get the same reaction even from one eye drop named Tobrex. Now I a have few questions. Could this be an autoimmune reaction on antibiotics? I do not have the diagnosis yet, still waiting for results. If that is true how you manage dose reactions on antibiotics? I am afraid of any kind of antibiotics. Is there any treatment that can make me tolerate antibiotics? Or are there some safer antibiotics safer for sjogren's? During childhood days I did not have any reactions to antibiotics. Will they have a major effect on CNS, body, muscles, and nerves? Please help.

Dr. Vaibhev Mittal

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Please do not panic. Yes, this can be an autoimmune disease. In fact as there are dry mouth and dry eyes, clinical diagnosis is Sjogren's disease as you mentioned which is an autoimmune disease. Sjogren's disease is basically of two types, primary where there is no cause for Sjogren's disease and secondary Sjogren's disease where there is some associated autoimmune disease. I would not say that it is due to the autoimmune response to antibiotics.

Toxic reaction to an antibiotic can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome, but that is a severe disease with the different clinical picture. So to summarize this, in my opinion, it is not due to an autoimmune response to antibiotics. There is no relation between antibiotics and Sjogren's syndrome. It seems you are either multidrug-resistant or there is some underlying autoimmune disease causing all these symptoms. The investigation will help in diagnosis and treatment will depend on the investigation reports. In case a patient is not comfortable with any antibiotics, or if some antibiotics cause unwanted response then we can just stop that antibiotic and treat those unwanted symptoms. Nothing more can be done. If all antibiotics were safe in your childhood then these must be safe now, and so, in my opinion, these symptoms are not caused by antibiotics.

I hope this helps.

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