Pilocarpine Hydrochloride is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is available in the dosage strength of 5 mg for the treatment of dry mouth due to a certain immune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. Pilocarpine Hydrochloride is in the class of medications called cholinergic agonists. This stimulates certain nerves to increase the amount of saliva you produce. It makes it easier and more comfortable to speak and swallow.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a disorder of your immune system identified by the 2 most common symptoms; dry mouth and dry eyes. This type of condition accompanies other immune system disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the moisture-secreting glands and mucous membranes of your mouth and eyes are usually affected first. That it results in decreased saliva and tears. Even though you can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, most people are older than 40 at the time of diagnosis. The condition is much more common in women. The treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Some signs and symptoms may include:
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Skin rashes or dry skin
- Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
- Persistent dry cough
- Vaginal dryness
- Swollen salivary glands particularly the set located behind your jaw or dry skin
- Prolonged fatigue
Sjogren’s syndrome is a type of condition that can last for a long period that doesn’t tend to get better on its own. The symptoms may be often treated though. The bits of the body usually affected are those that produce fluids like saliva and tears. It is not clear why the immune system stops working properly, it may be linked to:
- Hormones – the estrogen (female hormone) may play a part, as the condition is much more common in women than men
- Genetics – some people may be born with genes that make them more likely to get an autoimmune condition
For preventing future complications, early diagnosis and treatment are important. It can be difficult to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome. The symptoms can imitate those of other conditions such as lupus and fibromyalgia.
How does Pilocarpine Hydrochloride work?
Pilocarpine Hydrochloride mimics the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells. Acetylcholine is involved in transmitting nerve messages that control many of the processes that happen automatically in the body. Acetylcholine causes the salivary glands to make saliva and the lacrimal glands in the eye to make tears to lubricate the eyes. By imitating acetylcholine, this drug stimulates the production of saliva and tears. Wherein, it can help to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and eyes.
It can take 2 to 3 months of treatment with this medicine before dry mouth or eye symptoms are improved. The medicine should be stopped if there is no improvement after this time.
How to use Pilocarpine Hydrochloride?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may take each dose with or without food. Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking Pilocarpine Hydrochloride. Use this product regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. Remember to take it in the same way and at the same time each day. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
What are the side effects of Pilocarpine Hydrochloride?
Common side effects:
- Increased sweating
- Changes in vision
- Runny nose
- Redness or the neck and face
- Increased or frequent urge to urinate
This drug may cause an increase in tears. This can be helpful if you have dry eyes. Let your doctor know if ruby eyes become a problem. Call your doctor if you have these side effects:
- Slow or fast heartbeat
- Shakiness or tremor
- Lung problems (cough, phlegm, or increased wheezing)
- Severe stomach or abdominal pain
- Mental or mood changes such as agitation or confusion
Call right away for medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue
Warnings and Precautions
- Pilocarpine Hydrochloride may cause blurred vision especially in low light or at night. Be careful if you drive or do anything that obliges you to be able to see clearly.
- Avoid becoming overheated during exercise and in hot weather. Pilocarpine can increase sweating and you may be more prone to dehydration.
- Inform your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction to this. Tell as well to your doctor if you have any allergies.
- Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you have a medical history such as certain eye conditions, heart conditions, low or high blood pressure, and kidney or liver disease.
- Do not use this product for the treatment of other diseases without the consent of a doctor.
- If Pilocarpine Hydrochloride makes you sweat heavily, drink plenty of fluids so that you do not become dehydrated. If you are unable to drink enough fluids, talk with your doctor right away.
- Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use including prescription or non-prescription drugs and herbal products.
- Caution is recommended when using this medication in the elderly. They may be more sensitive to its effects especially dizziness, increase the urge to urinate, and diarrhea.
- If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding women consult your doctor first before using this medication.
- Always remember to keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children and never share your medicines with others. Also, use this medication only for the indication prescribed.