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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Pilocarpine
Pilocarpine
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(pye loe KAR peen)

Brand Names
Adsorbocarpine® Ophthalmic; Akarpine® Ophthalmic; Isopto® Carpine Ophthalmic; Ocu-Carpine®; Ocusert Pilo-20® Ophthalmic; Ocusert Pilo-40® Ophthalmic; Pilagan® Ophthalmic; Pilocar® Ophthalmic; Pilopine HS® Ophthalmic; Piloptic® Ophthalmic; Pilostat® Ophthalmic; Salagen® Oral

Foreign Brand Names
Minims® Pilocarpine (Canada)

Therapeutic Categories
Cholinergic Agonist; Ophthalmic Agent, Antiglaucoma; Ophthalmic Agent, Miotic

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to pilocarpine or any other part of the medicine.


What is this medicine used for?

  • Oral:
    • This medicine is used to treat dry mouth caused by radiation; therapy for head and neck cancer; dry mouth and keratoconjunctivitis sicca in Sjögren's syndrome.
  • Eye:
    • This medicine is used for the treatment of glaucoma.


How does it work?

  • Oral:
    • Pilocarpine increases saliva and fluids in the eye.
  • Eye:
    • Pilocarpine lowers intraocular pressure.


How is it best taken?

  • Oral:
    • Take as directed by healthcare provider.
    • Make sure you are drinking enough liquids unless told to drink less by healthcare provider. Avoid products with caffeine.
  • Eye:
    • For the eye only.
    • Take out soft contact lenses before using medicine. Lenses can be replaced 15 minutes after medicine is given.
    • Do not touch the bottle or tube tip to the eye, lid, or other skin.
  • Solution:
    • Tilt head back and drop medicine into eye.
    • After using medicine keep your eyes closed. Apply pressure to the inside corner of the eye. Do this for 3-5 minutes. This keeps medicine in the eye.
    • Separate each eye medicine by 5 minutes. Give one and wait 5 minutes before using the next.
  • Gel:
    • Apply as a 1/2 inch ribbon inside lower lid.
    • Close the eye for 1-2 minutes. Roll eyeball around.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Use caution if you have lung disease. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Be careful in hot weather.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Do not use if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Runny nose.
  • Flushing.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Dizziness is common. Rise slowly over several minutes from sitting or lying position. Be careful climbing stairs.
  • Decreased night vision. Use caution when driving or doing tasks that require clear vision. Keep work area well light.
  • Eye:
    • Stinging or burning.
    • Tearing.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Headache. Mild pain medicine may help.


What should I monitor?

  • Watch for change in symptoms. Is condition better, worse, or about the same?
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Passing out, fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Flushing or sweating that you are not able to tolerate.
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
  • Any rash.
  • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store at room temperature.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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