There are no medicines that treat TMD. Pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or a type of antidepressant may be used to treat pain. Some people may be given a shot of a steroid into the joint to ease swelling and severe pain. These are not used for a long time. Talk to your doctor to find out how long you should be taking them.

Prescription Medicines

Benzodiazepines

  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Clonazepam

Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Amitriptyline
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Imipramine
  • Nortriptyline

Over the Counter Medicines

Acetaminophen

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Prescription Medicines

 

Benzodiazepines

Common names are:

  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Clonazepam

Minor tranquilizers are only used in people with severe TMD. They relax the body and the muscles. This may help ease jaw and muscle pain. They may help people stop grinding their teeth and clenching.

They are often taken at night and for a very short time, often less than a month.

Some side effects are:

  • Dependence
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Lightheadedness

Do not take these with alcohol or with other medicines that can cause drowsiness, such as other sedatives, pain relievers, antihistamines, and sleeping pills.

 

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Common names are:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Imipramine
  • Nortriptyline

These may help treat pain in people with severe TMD. They are often taken at night and for a very short time, often less than a month.

Some side effects are:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Sun sensitivity

Do not take these with alcohol or with other medicines that can cause drowsiness, such as other sedatives, pain relievers, antihistamines, and sleeping pills.

Over the Counter Medicines

 

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen can help ease some jaw and muscle pain. It is also safe to give to children. Do not give more than your doctor tells you to. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking it.

 

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen can also help ease jaw and muscle pain and swelling. Some people find ibuprofen to be hard on the stomach, so take it with food. Drinking it with alcohol raises the chance that it will bother your stomach.

People have had rare reactions to it. If you notice a new skin rash, problems breathing, or swelling in your face or around your eyes, stop taking it and call your doctor right away.

 

Naproxen

Naproxen is like ibuprofen both in action and in side effects.

Special Considerations

If you are taking medicine:

  • Take it as advised. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than 1, including over the counter products and supplements.
  • Plan for refills.
REFERENCES:

Temporomandibular disorders. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aaoms.org/docs/practice_resources/clinical_resources/tmd_disorders.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/temporomandibular-disorders. Updated February 20, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) pain. ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/tmj. Updated January 2019. Accessed July 29, 2019.

TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj. Accessed July 29, 2019.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/TMJ/TMJDisorders.htm. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 10/18/2019