Pilocarpine is used to treat dry mouth caused by radiotherapy in people with head and neck cancer and to treat dry mouth in people with Sjogren's syndrome (a condition that affects the immune system and causes dryness of certain parts of the body such as the eyes and mouth). Pilocarpine is in a class of medications called cholinergic agonists. It works by increasing the amount of saliva in the mouth.
Pilocarpine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. When pilocarpine is used to treat dry mouth caused by radiotherapy in people who have head and neck cancer, it is usually taken three times a day. When pilocarpine is used to treat dry mouth in people who have Sjogren's syndrome, it is usually taken four times a day. Take pilocarpine at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pilocarpine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may start you on an average dose of pilocarpine and adjust your dose depending on how well your symptoms are controlled and the side effects you experience. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with pilocarpine.
Pilocarpine will control your symptoms but will not cure your condition. Continue to take pilocarpine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking pilocarpine without talking to your doctor.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
changes in vision
fast or slow heartbeat
Pilocarpine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
tearing of eyes
uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Reviewed - 09/01/2010
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.