- What is pilocarpine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for pilocarpine?
- Is pilocarpine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for pilocarpine?
- What are the side effects of pilocarpine?
- What is the dosage for pilocarpine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with pilocarpine?
- Is pilocarpine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about pilocarpine?
What is pilocarpine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Pilocarpine is a cholinergic drug, that is, a drug that mimics the effects of the chemical, acetylcholine which is produced by nerve cells. Acetylcholine serves as a messenger between nerve cells and between nerve cells and the organs they control. For example, acetylcholine is responsible for causing the salivary glands to make saliva and the lacrimal glands to make tears to lubricate the eyes. In addition to its effects on the salivary and lacrimal glands, acetylcholine reduces the production of fluid within the eye. Pilocarpine eye drops have been used for many years to treat glaucoma, a condition in which pressure within the fluid of the eye is abnormally elevated and ultimately damages the eye and impares vision. In 1994, an oral formulation of pilocarpine was approved by the FDA for the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, a treatment that damages the salivary glands and reduces their production of saliva. In 1998, the oral preparation was approved for the management of Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that damages the salivary and lacrimal glands. Pilocarpine was first isolated from the leaves of Pilocarpus microphyllus (also called jaborandi) in 1875.
What brand names are available for pilocarpine?
Is pilocarpine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for pilocarpine?
What are the side effects of pilocarpine?
Excessive sweating (diaphoresis) is a frequent side effect of pilocarpine. Other side effects include:
- excessive tearing,
- voice change,
- stuffy nose,
- increased need to urinate,
- visual disturbances,
- difficulty swallowing,
- abdominal pain,
- slow or increased heart rate,
- and high or low blood pressure.
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