What’s the Buzz

The Bee Healthy Blog

24 Medications That Can Cause Loss of Taste

A cartoon of a man eating food who has loss of taste.

Various factors, such as infections and nutritional deficiencies, can lead to taste disorders. These disorders can include ageusia (loss of taste sensation) or dysgeusia (unpleasant taste such as bitter taste or metallic taste). A lesser-known cause of taste disturbances is a medication side effect. This is called a drug-related taste disturbance. 

Please continue reading to learn more about drug-induced taste disorders, including some common types of medications that can cause changes in taste perception. 

Why did I suddenly lose taste?

True ageusia or complete loss of taste is rare. However, many people experience changes in taste and flavor sensations. Though taste problems can happen at any age, it is more common in adults 50 years and older. Possible causes of taste complaints include: 

  • Viral infections such as the common cold, flu, and COVID-19.
  • Sinus infections.
  • Strep throat and pharyngitis (sore throat).
  • Gradual loss of smell and taste with age. 
  • Oral diseases such as periodontal (gum) disease and salivary gland infections.
  • Head or ear injuries.
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking or poor nutritional status, specifically vitamin B12 and zinc.
  • Geriatric syndromes like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Other conditions can cause changes in smell and taste, such as dry mouth, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, liver disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Certain medications can cause oral adverse effects, including altered taste.

It is worth noting that the sensations of taste and smell are closely related. For example, smell plays an important role in the perception of flavor. Therefore, medical conditions and medications that affect smell can also alter taste function.

What are the risks associated with taste disorders?

Healthcare professionals want to identify and treat the underlying cause of smell and taste changes because they can affect overall health. 

For example, taste loss can be a contributing factor to a decreased desire to eat, with a risk of unintended weight loss. Taste changes may cause some patients to add salt or sugar to their food, for example, to mask a bitter taste, which can have negative health consequences. Some people may increase fluid intake to mask taste disturbances, causing complications such as urinary incontinence. There are even case reports of taste disturbances causing marital problems because of complaints about a partner’s cooking skills.

If a medication side effect is responsible for gustatory or olfactory loss or change (smell and taste changes), it can potentially lead to medication noncompliance with a negative impact on the management of chronic diseases. 

Can certain medications affect your taste buds?

Yes, certain medications can affect taste buds. In other words, a taste disturbance can be a medication side effect. Researchers have identified hundreds of medications that affect taste. Some medicines contain compounds that have a bitter or unpleasant taste. Others cause taste disorders by affecting the taste receptors in the mouth or changing how taste signals are sent from taste buds. Drug-drug and drug-food interactions can also cause taste disturbances. Medications can also cause a taste disturbance by affecting the chemical composition of saliva.

What drugs cause taste disturbance?

The following drugs can influence taste and smell:

How to treat taste disturbances caused by medications?

Treatment for drug-induced taste disorders usually consists of lowering the dose or discontinuing the offending drug. Switching to another medication from the same drug class may fix the problem. Discontinuation of the drug often leads to recovery of taste sensation.

Other treatment options for taste disturbances may include zinc or vitamin supplementation if there are deficiencies, amplifying food flavors to compensate for the loss of taste and smell, and making changes to the foods you eat.


  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21850-ageusia-loss-of-sense-of-taste
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/ask_the_doctor_is_my_blood_pressure_medicine_changing_my_ability_to_taste
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40136-022-00428-z
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051304/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980431/