Pilocarpine for Sjögren's Syndrome
Pilocarpine is available only by prescription as tablets to be taken by mouth.
How It Works
Pilocarpine increases the amount of saliva and tears produced by the salivary and tear glands. Pilocarpine tablets are used to relieve dryness in the mouth, throat, and eyes caused by Sjögren's syndrome.
Why It Is Used
In Sjögren's syndrome, the moisture-producing glands of the body are attacked by the immune system and can become scarred and damaged, resulting in exceptional drying of the eyes and mouth. Besides being very uncomfortable and irritating, the dryness can lead to other symptoms, including yeast infections in the mouth (thrush), and cardboard-dry nasal and breathing passages. Pilocarpine stimulates an increase in the production of saliva and tears to relieve these symptoms.
How Well It Works
Pilocarpine has shown good results in relieving the dry mouth symptoms and the dry eyes symptoms caused by Sjögren's syndrome. For dry eyes, it may take several weeks to get the full effect of the medicine.1
Mild side effects may occur as you begin pilocarpine treatment. Check with your doctor if you have any of these side effects or think you are having other side effects:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of pilocarpine. Check with your doctor if you are taking other eye medicines or are having surgery. If you have had asthma, chronic diarrhea, heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, or obstruction of the urinary bladder, you should discuss this with your doctor before starting pilocarpine.
If you are breast-feeding, pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking pilocarpine.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about other medicines that you take, both prescription and nonprescription, before starting pilocarpine treatment.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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