Many people can manage the dry eye and dry mouth associated with Sjogren's syndrome by using over-the-counter eyedrops and sipping water more frequently. But some people may need prescription medications, or even surgery.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest medications that:
- Increase production of saliva. Drugs such as pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac) can increase the production of saliva, and sometimes tears. Side effects may include sweating, abdominal pain, flushing and increased urination.
- Address specific complications. If you develop arthritis symptoms, you may benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other arthritis medications. Yeast infections in the mouth should be treated with antifungal medications.
- Treat system-wide symptoms. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a drug designed to treat malaria, is often helpful in treating Sjogren's syndrome. Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, may also be prescribed.
To relieve dry eyes, you may consider undergoing a minor surgical procedure to seal the tear ducts that drain tears from your eyes (punctal occlusion). Collagen or silicone plugs are inserted into the ducts for a temporary closure. Collagen plugs eventually dissolve, but silicone plugs stay in place until they fall out or are removed. Alternatively, your doctor may use a laser to permanently seal your tear ducts.
Aug. 06, 2011
- Questions and answers about Sjogren's syndrome. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sjogrens_Syndrome/default.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Kruszka P, et al. Diagnosis and management of Sjogren syndrome. American Family Physician. 2009;79:465.
- Naguwa S, et al. Sjogren's syndrome. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/137554062-3/841563606/1492/1035.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50294-9_13050. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Sjogren's syndrome. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/sjogrens.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Fox R, et al. Treatment of Sjogren's syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 6, 2011.