Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a hallmark symptom in patients with Sjögren syndrome, and can cause discomfort and difficulty in swallowing, speaking and sleeping. Diminished saliva secretion can also lead to dental problems, such as tooth decay and oral infection.

A newly developed intraoral device called GenNarino (Saliwell; Saarbrücken, Germany) has been designed to decrease oral dryness by electrically stimulating the lingual nerves and inducing saliva secretion. Strietzel et al. tested the efficacy and safety of this machine in 114 patients with xerostomia.

In the initial 2-month double-blind crossover phase of the study, during which patients used either the GenNarino or a sham device for the first month before switching over for the second month, active treatment was associated with significantly better patient-reported xerostomia severity and frequency, quality of life and ease of swallowing, indicating that the electrical stimulation provided added efficacy compared with the mechanical stimulation of the sham device. A subsequent 3-month open-label phase, during which all patients used the active device, showed that xerostomia severity and frequency, oral discomfort, speech and sleep difficulty and salivary flow-rate were all significantly improved from baseline values. Only local, mild and transient adverse effects were recorded.

The results indicate that the GenNarino device has similar efficacy and a better safety profile compared with the available systemic pharmalogical treatments for dry mouth.