Pilocarpine Tablets

Pilocarpine is a medication that increases the saliva in your mouth to treat dry mouth as a result of Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic condition that causes insufficient moisture production in certain glands of your body. The brand name of this medication is Salagen®.

What is this medication?

PILOCARPINE (PYE loe KAR peen) treats dry mouth. It works by increasing the amount of saliva in the mouth, which makes it easier to speak and swallow.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Salagen

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Eye infection or other eye problems
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung or breathing disease, such as asthma
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to pilocarpine, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

  • Antihistamines for allergy, cough, and cold
  • Atropine
  • Certain medications for Alzheimer disease, such as donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine
  • Certain medications for bladder problems, such as bethanechol, oxybutynin, tolterodine
  • Certain medications for Parkinson disease, such as benztropine, trihexyphenidyl
  • Certain medications for quitting smoking, such as nicotine
  • Certain medications for stomach problems, such as dicyclomine, hyoscyamine
  • Certain medications for travel sickness, such as scopolamine
  • Ipratropium
  • Medications for blood pressure or heart problems, such as metoprolol

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not get better or if they get worse.

You may get blurry vision or have trouble telling how far something is from you. This may be a problem at night or when the lights are low. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs clear vision until you know how this medication affects you.

If you sweat a lot, drink enough to replace fluids. Do not get dehydrated.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, blurry vision
  • Slow heartbeat—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, confusion, trouble breathing, unusual weakness or fatigue

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Change in vision
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Increased need to urinate

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.

To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:

  • Take the medications to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
  • If your cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, take the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Copyright ©2024 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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