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Disturbance of smell or taste

Our senses of taste and smell give us great pleasure. Taste helps us enjoy food and beverages. Smell lets us enjoy the scents and fragrances like roses or coffee. Taste and smell also protect us, letting us know when food has gone bad or when there is a gas leak. They make us want to eat, ensuring we get the nutrition we need.

People with taste disorders may taste things that aren't there, may not be able to tell the difference in tastes or can't taste at all. People with smell disorders may lose their sense of smell, or things may smell different. A smell they once enjoyed may now smell bad to them.

Many illnesses and injuries can cause taste and smell disorders, including colds and head injuries. Some drugs can also affect taste and smell. Most people lose some ability to taste and smell as they get older. Treatment varies, depending on the problem and its cause.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Source: MedlinePlus

What causes it?

The most common causes of disturbance of smell or taste are chronic sinusitis, dementia, and stroke. Other possible causes, such as sialoadenitis, are more rare.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with disturbance of smell or taste often receive physical therapy exercises, occupational therapy assessment, other diagnostic procedures (interview; evaluation; consultation), magnetic resonance imaging, diagnostic procedures on nose; mouth and pharynx, physical therapy exercises; manipulation; and other procedures, other physical therapy and rehabilitation and psychological and psychiatric evaluation and therapy .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with disturbance of smell or taste include methylprednisolone (medrol), thiamine, mometasone nasal product, folic acid, nifedipine, diltiazem, bisoprolol / hydrochlorothiazide, irbesartan (avapro), glimepiride, benazepril / hydrochlorothiazide, zosyn, carbamazepine and penbutolol (levatol) .

Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
$18
(21 days)
Thiamine
$3
(28 days)
Mometasone Nasal Product

Folic Acid
$3
(28 days)
Nifedipine
$39
(28 days)
Diltiazem
$31
(28 days)
Irbesartan (Avapro)
$73
(28 days)
Glimepiride
$8
(28 days)
Zosyn
$520
(7 days)
Carbamazepine
$43
(28 days)
Penbutolol (Levatol)
$82
(28 days)

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for disturbance of smell or taste include age 60-74 years age 45-59 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years almost never get disturbance of smell or taste.

Age

< 1 years
0.4x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.2x
15-29 years
0.6x
30-44 years
0.9x
45-59 years
1.5x
60-74 years
2.0x
75+ years
1.0x

Sex

Male
1.2x
Female
0.8x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
1.4x
Hispanic
0.2x
White
1.1x
Other
1.0x
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