Your Virtual Pharmacists! What Is Sjogren’s Syndrome!

by Kathy Sykes on September 16, 2011 · 1 comment

Being the I LOVE tennis, I was sad to see that Venus Williams had to pull out of the US Open due to her newly diagnosed Sjogren’s Syndrome. Many times we are not familiar with situations until someone in the public eye brings awareness to it.

Here is a little information about Sjogren’s Syndrome (from Mayoclinic.com):

Definition

By Mayo Clinic staff

Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome is a disorder of your immune system identified by its two most common symptoms — dry eyes and a dry mouth.

Sjogren’s syndrome often accompanies other immune-system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth are usually affected first — resulting in decreased production of tears and saliva.

Although you can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, most people are older than 40 at the time of diagnosis. The condition is much more common in women. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, which often subside with time.

 

Symptoms

By Mayo Clinic staff

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Illustration showing location of salivary glands
Salivary glands

The two main symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are:

  • Dry eyes. Your eyes may burn, itch or feel gritty — as if there’s sand in them.
  • Dry mouth. Your mouth may feel like it’s full of cotton, making it difficult to swallow or speak.

Some people with Sjogren’s syndrome also experience one or more of the following:

  • Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Swollen salivary glands — particularly the set located behind your jaw and in front of your ears
  • Skin rashes or dry skin
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Prolonged fatigue

Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic staffMany people can manage the dry eye and dry mouth associated with Sjogren’s syndrome by using over-the-counter eyedrops and sipping water more frequently. But some people may need prescription medications, or even surgery.

Medications
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest medications that:

  • Increase production of saliva. Drugs such as pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac) can increase the production of saliva, and sometimes tears. Side effects may include sweating, abdominal pain, flushing and increased urination.
  • Address specific complications. If you develop arthritis symptoms, you may benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other arthritis medications. Yeast infections in the mouth should be treated with antifungal medications.
  • Treat system-wide symptoms. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a drug designed to treat malaria, is often helpful in treating Sjogren’s syndrome. Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, may also be prescribed.

Surgery
To relieve dry eyes, you may consider undergoing a minor surgical procedure to seal the tear ducts that drain tears from your eyes (punctal occlusion). Collagen or silicone plugs are inserted into the ducts for a temporary closure. Collagen plugs eventually dissolve, but silicone plugs stay in place until they fall out or are removed. Alternatively, your doctor may use a laser to permanently seal your tear ducts.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Linda Kirk September 16, 2011 at 10:56 am

very informative and Happy Birthday Monday Kathy:)

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