Common brand name: Salagen
Dental uses: Pilocarpine is approved for the symptomatic relief of dry mouth (xerostomia) caused by radiation therapy for head and neck cancer; and for the symptomatic relief of dry mouth caused by Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune system disease).
Dosages for dental purposes: For dry mouth caused by radiation therapy, the recommended adult dose of pilocarpine is 5 milligrams to 10 milligrams three times per day. For dry mouth caused by Sjogren’s syndrome the recommended adult dose is 5 milligrams four times per day.
Concerns and possible side effects: Patients with a chronic dry mouth are at increased risk for dental decay and should see their dentist for treatment. The most common side effects from pilocarpine are sweating, runny nose, nausea, chills, dizziness, and increased urinary frequency. Patients with severe asthma should not take pilocarpine because pilocarpine may precipitate an asthmatic attack in these individuals. While pilocarpine is used in medicine to treat certain types of wide-angle glaucoma (increased eye pressure), it should not be taken by patients with narrow-angle glaucoma or acute iritis inflammation of the iris), because pilocarpine may precipitate a glaucoma attack in these individuals.