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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 26

World J Cardiol



Drug-induced gingival overgrowth in cardiovascular patients.


Bajkovec L, Mrzljak A, Likic R, Alajbeg I
World J Cardiol. 2021 Apr 26; 13(4):68-75.
PMID: 33968305.


Drug-induced gingival overgrowth (DIGO) is a pathological growth of gingival tissue, primarily associated with calcium channel blockers and immunosuppressants. Consequently, it is mainly seen in cardiovascular and transplanted patients. Nifedipine remains the main calcium channel blocker related to the development of this unpleasant side-effect. As for immunosuppressants, cyclosporin is the leading causative agent, whereas other drugs from this drug-group, including tacrolimus, have better safety profiles. Accumulated collagen with inflammatory infiltrates is the histological hallmark of this condition. Several factors are involved in the pathogenesis and can increase the risk, such as male gender, younger age, pre-existing periodontal inflammation, and concomitant use of other DIGO-inducing medications. Patients with DIGO may experience severe discomfort, trouble with speech and mastication, pain, and teeth loss, aside from cosmetic implications. Furthermore, these patients also have an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. The interdisciplinary approach and cooperation with dental care experts are necessary for patient management. Treatment includes discontinuing the drug and switching to one with a better profile, improving oral hygiene, and surgical removal of enlarged tissue. Recognizing the potential of commonly used medications to cause DIGO and its effect on patients' health is necessary for early detection and adequate management of this complication.