Aspartame-induced Sjogren syndrome.To the Editor: The publication of three features on Sjogren syndrome in the December 2005 edition of the Southern Medical Journal warrants brief comment because of my longstanding interest in this disorder, and personal observations/research therein relative to the provocative role of products containing aspartame aspartame: see sweetener, artificial.
Synthetic organic compound (a dipeptide) of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is 150–200 times as sweet as cane sugar and is used as a nonnutritive tabletop sweetener and in low-calorie (NutraSweet, Equal).
I have described this association with each of the main clinical aspects of the Sjogren syndrome in aspartame reactors--including the reduction or absence of secretions from the lacrimal lacrimal /lac·ri·mal/ (lak´ri-mal) pertaining to the tears.
lac·ri·mal or lach·ry·mal
1. Of or relating to tears.
2. and salivary glands, arthropathy arthropathy /ar·throp·a·thy/ (ahr-throp´ah-the) any joint disease.arthropath´ic
Charcot's arthropathy neuropathic a. , and cerebral dysfunction. (1,2)
The counterparts of the young woman with submandibular submandibular /sub·man·dib·u·lar/ (sub?man-dib´u-ler) below the mandible.
submandibular (sub´mandib´y swelling reported by Kulkarni (3) are found among patients that I cited with otherwise unexplained swelling of the salivary glands. (2) Dramatic swelling ("as large as golf balls") occurred as soon as 15 minutes after drinking an aspartame soda. The association was confirmed by predictable recurrence of such swelling--with or without systemic symptoms--on rechallenge.
The use of aspartame products by two-thirds of the population underscores the importance of this association.
H.J. Roberts, MD, FACP FACP Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
1. Fellow of the American College of Physicians
2. Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists , FCCP FCCP Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians
FCCP Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy
FCCP Feeder Calf Certification Program
FCCP Family-Controlled Corporation Program (The Wharton School)
Palm Beach Institute for Medical Research
West Palm Beach, FL
1. Roberts HJ. Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe? Philadelphia, The Charles Press, 1989.
2. Roberts HJ. Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 2001.
3. Kulkarni K. Unusual presentation of Sjogren syndrome. South Med J 2005;98:1210-1211.