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What medications can cause dysarthria?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on July 5, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Dysarthria is a speech disorder that results from weakness in the muscles involved in speaking. Some medications that affect the brain or nervous system, or muscles of speech, may result in dysarthria as a side effect. Classes of medications more frequently implicated in causing dysarthria include:

However, not every medicine within each of these classes may cause the disorder.

Some specific drugs that have been associated with dysarthria include:

Dysarthria is a disorder of speech resulting from weakness or poor control of the muscles used in speaking. This includes muscles in the face, tongue, throat or lips, and also muscles that regulate breathing, like the diaphragm.

Dysarthria may look different in different people. Some may mumble or slur words, have uneven speech, speak softly or speak too slow or too fast. Dysarthria does not affect your ability to express your thoughts or understand the spoken word.

The cause of muscle weakness in dysarthria can be because of damage to the actual muscles, to the nervous system, or to parts of the brain that control muscle coordination, such as the cerebellum.

Dysarthria is most commonly caused by diseases or disorders of the brain or nervous system, such as:

It can also be caused by medications that affect these same areas of the body.

References
  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dysarthria. Available at: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/dysarthria/. [Accessed June 8, 2021].
  2. Sarva H, Henchcliffe C.Ataxia & Cerebellar Disease.In:Brust JM.eds.CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Neurology, 3e. 2019. McGraw-Hill.https://accessmedicine-mhmedical-com.online.uchc.edu/content.aspx?bookid=2567§ionid=207231878. [Accessed June 17, 2021].
  3. Brunton LL, Hilal-Dandan R, Knollmann BC.eds.Goodman & Gilman's: The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13e. 2018. McGraw-Hill.Available at: https://accesspharmacy-mhmedical-com.online.uchc.edu/content.aspx?bookid=2189§ionid=165936845. [Accessed June 15, 2021].
  4. Nelson LS, Howland M, Lewin NA, Smith SW, Goldfrank LR, Hoffman RS.eds.Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies, 11e. 2019. McGraw-Hill; https://accesspharmacy-mhmedical-com.online.uchc.edu/content.aspx?bookid=2569§ionid=210256528. [Accessed June 15, 2021].
  5. Ananth J, Swartz R, Chung C, Gadasally R. Dysarthria: Lonely Symptom of Tardive Dystonia.The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 1997;42(4):428-429. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F070674379704200417.

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