Pilocarpine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: pilocarpine (pye-loe-KAR-peen)
Brand Name: Salagen

Pilocarpine is used for:

Treating dry mouth associated with radiation treatment for cancer or Sjogren syndrome. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Pilocarpine is a cholinergic agent. It works by increasing the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands, which helps to relieve dry mouth.

Do NOT use pilocarpine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pilocarpine
  • you have glaucoma, a severe eye infection, eye inflammation, or uncontrolled asthma

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using pilocarpine:

Some medical conditions may interact with pilocarpine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a detached retina or an eye infection
  • if you have heart disease, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney or liver disease, gallstones, or gall bladder problems
  • if you have a psychiatric disorder

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with pilocarpine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Parasympathomimetic agents (eg, bethanecol) because they may increase the risk of pilocarpine's side effects
  • Beta-blockers (eg atenolol) because the risk of heart-related side effects may be increased
  • Anticholinergic agents (eg, atropine, ipratropium) because their effectiveness may be decreased by pilocarpine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if pilocarpine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use pilocarpine:

Use pilocarpine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take pilocarpine by mouth with or without food.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking pilocarpine is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • If you miss a dose of pilocarpine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use pilocarpine.

Important safety information:

  • Pilocarpine may cause blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use pilocarpine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • It may take 12 weeks for pilocarpine to work.
  • Pilocarpine should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using pilocarpine while you are pregnant. It is not known if pilocarpine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking pilocarpine.

Possible side effects of pilocarpine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Chills; dizziness; flushing; frequent urination; nausea; runny nose; sweating; vision changes (eg, blurred vision); weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abdominal pain; breathing problems; change in heart rate; confusion; excessive sweating; excessive tears; headache; shaking; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include abnormal heartbeat; blood pressure changes; confusion; diarrhea; difficulty breathing; headache; tremors; vision changes; vomiting.

Proper storage of pilocarpine:

Store pilocarpine at room temperature, up to 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Keep pilocarpine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pilocarpine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pilocarpine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take pilocarpine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about pilocarpine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pilocarpine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using pilocarpine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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