Salagen (Pilocarpine)

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What is Salagen (Pilocarpine) prescribed for?

When you have Sjogren’s syndrome, your eyes, mouth and other parts of your body can become dried out.  This disease causes your immune system to go haywire and attack healthy cells instead of invading bacteria or viruses. Your white blood cells, which normally protect you from germs, attack the glands that are in charge of making moisture. When that happens, they can't produce tears and saliva. Dry eyes and mouth are the most common symptoms.

This medication is used to treat symptoms of dry mouth due to Sjorgen’s syndrome, or from saliva gland damage due to radiation treatments of the head or neck for cancer. Pilocarpine belongs to a class of drugs known as cholinergic agonists. It works by stimulating certain nerve cells to increase the amount of saliva you produce, making it easier and more comfortable to speak and swallow.

Read up on any information your doctor may have given your regarding this medication. And if you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist when possible. And to be sure this medication is helping your condition; visit your doctor regularly.

This medication is taken by mouth, with or without food, and usually 3 to 4 times daily. Or as directed to you by your doctor. To reduce the risk of any side effects you may be started out on this medication on a low dose, and have it gradually raised as time moves on.

Remember the dosage is based on your medical condition and your response to the treatment. If you have any liver problems your doctor may direct you to take this medication only twice a day. You should take this medication regularly to gain the most benefit.

You may continue to drink water or use saliva substitutes as needed for moisture in your mouth.

Before taking this medication, it is best to advise your doctor if you are allergic Pilocarpine; or to any other medications or allergies in general. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.

It is best to inform your doctor of your medical history. Therefore, it is best to speak with your doctor if you have ever suffered from any of the following; breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), certain eye conditions (such as night blindness, acute iritis, narrow-angle glaucoma), heart disease (such as chest pain, heart failure, heart attack, slow heartbeat), low or high blood pressure, liver problems, gallbladder disease (such as gallstones), kidney stones, mental/mood disorders (such as depression, psychoses, thinking/understanding problems like dementia, Alzheimer's), stomach problems (such as chronic heartburn, ulcer).

Propafenone may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.

This drug may make you dizzy or cause vision problems, especially at night. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision, especially at night, until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

If pilocarpine 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 drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially dizziness, diarrhea, and increased urge to urinate.

While minor, some of these side effects may occur. They are as follows; Sweating, nausea, runny nose, chills, flushing, frequent urge to urinate, dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, and blurred vision may occur. However if any of these persist or worsen, it’s best to speak with your doctor right away.

This medication may cause an increase in tears. This can be helpful if you have dry eyes (such as with Sjogren's syndrome). Tell your doctor if runny eyes become a problem.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: slow/fast heartbeat, shakiness (tremor), fainting, lung problems (such as increased wheezing/cough/phlegm), mental/mood changes (such as confusion, agitation), severe stomach/abdominal pain.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

What happens if I suddenly stop taking this medication?

There may be a relapse in symptoms as well as side effects. You should speak your doctor before stop taking this medication.

 

 What is the best dosage to take?

The diagnosis with your doctor will be able to determine the best dosage for your treatment. Work with your doctor closely for dosage and dosing schedules.

 

 What happens if I miss a dose?

You should take the missed dose as soon you realize you have forgotten. If the forgotten dose is closer to your next scheduled dose, take the next schedule dose to avoid overlapping in dose.

 

 What is the best way to store this medication?

This medication is stored at room temperature, and should be kept away from children and pets. Do not throw away this medication in the wastebasket. If you are uncertain how to dispose of this medication speak with your pharmacist for help in safely disposing of this medication.

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