Oxytetracycline has been suggested as an alternate therapy for chronic recurrent sialadenitis and sialorrhea. We conducted an experimental study to investigate the sclerotic effect of this drug on the submandibular gland by histopathologic methods. Our subjects were 20 New Zealand white rabbits, which were divided into two groups of 10. The right submandibular gland of the rabbits in the active treatment group was injected with 0.3 ml of oxytetracycline (100 mg/ml), and that of the controls was injected with saline. Four weeks after the injections, all the glands were removed. Histopathologic studies, including hematoxylin and eosin and Masson trichrome staining, were carried out. The glands were evaluated for tissue inflammation, congestion, fibrosis, edema, lipomatosis, and atrophy. To investigate apoptosis, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) immunohistochemical staining was used. In the study group, inflammation (n = 9), congestion (n = 9), fibrosis (n = 6), edema (n = 6), and lipomatosis (n = 4) were observed; in the sham group, only lipomatosis was seen (n = 5). The TUNEL assay results for acinar cells were 4.51 +/- 1.41% in the oxytetracycline group and 2.08 +/- 1.76% in the control group (p = 0.006); the corresponding figures for the duct cells were 7.05 +/- 0.87% and 3.10 +/- 2.26% (p = 0.001). Based on our findings, we conclude that oxytetracycline might be a viable alternative for the treatment of chronic recurrent sialadenitis and sialorrhea. However, more research in this area is needed.