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This Month's Free CE:

Hypofunction of the Sympathetic Nervous System as a Possible Etiologic Cause
of Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis

By Steven I. Present, DMD and Jerome H. Check, MD, PhD


Recurrent aphthous stomatitis is a common disorder of the oral mucosa. The symptoms can range from a minor nuisance to severe forms that can be extremely debilitating. Two cases of chronic aphthous stomatitis are described. The patients sought help to ameliorate vasomotor symptoms. A diagnosis of sympathetic nervous system hypofunction was established. Treatment was aimed at restoring normal sympathetic function by the administration of dextroamphetamine sulfate. Since the patients have been on the amphetamine salts, neither their vasomotor symptoms nor their aphthous lesions have returned. Hypofunction of the sympathetic nervous system should be considered as a possible etiologic factor in patients with recurrent oral ulcers when not associated with known systemic diseases.


After reading this article, the reader should be able to:

  • Explain recurrent aphthous stomatitis, including symptoms, as it affects the oral mucosa.
  • Discuss the etiologic factors associated with recurrent aphthous stomatitis.
  • Describe treatment aimed at restoring normal sympathetic function through the administration of dextroamphetamine sulfate.


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