What are treatment options for Sjogren's syndrome?
As with many autoimmune disorders, there is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. Most treatments help manage the symptoms associated with this condition. Less aggressive treatments may consist of remedies such as eye drops, drinking water, and humidifiers, while more aggressive treatments include oral or topical medications. Here are the different treatment options currently available for dry eye symptoms from Sjogren's syndrome:
- Artificial tears and ointments- commonly found over the counter to help alleviate the symptoms from dry eyes.
- Prescription eye drops- usually used to help reduce irritation from chronic inflammation of the tear glands. It is also helpful with improving tear production.
- Cyclosporine (Restasis)
- Lifitegrast (Xiidra)
- Punctal plugs- is a procedure where an ophthalmologist inserts small silicone plugs into the tear ducts to help with tear production.
- Autologous serum drops- personalized eye drops are made by mixing your blood serum with a mixed sterile solution.
Here are treatment options available for the treatment of dry mouth associated with Sjogren's syndrome:
- Artificial saliva producers- common over-the-counter products include gum or candies with sorbitol or xylitol to help produce saliva.
- Prescription saliva producers- help produce saliva from the use of medication naturally.
- Pilocarpine (Salagen)
- Cevimeline (Evoxac)
Treatment options available for vaginal dryness include:
- Vaginal lubricants/moisturizers- usually found over the counter to add needed moisture to the vagina daily.
- Vaginal estrogen therapy- prescription therapy for vaginal dryness.
If medications fail, what are other treatment options available?
Surgery may be considered for managing Sjogren's syndrome symptoms when medications or punctal plugs fail to relieve symptoms. The goal of surgery is to permanently close tear ducts.
Are there any preventative treatments that should be considered for Sjogren's syndrome?
Due to the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, wellness visits with your dentist and ophthalmologist are imperative. Dry mouth places people at increased risk of developing cavities and tooth decay, so regular examination and treatments are needed. Avoiding scented soaps, detergents, and perfumes are also helpful in preventing symptoms of vaginal dryness from Sjogren's syndrome. Lastly, ophthalmology exams are crucial for preventing eye complications such as permanent damage to the cornea due to chronic inflammation and dryness.
Sjogren's syndrome can have many symptoms associated with the disorder. The good news is although there is no cure, the condition is very manageable. If you feel you may have Sjogren’s syndrome, the first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. Our healthcare providers at TeleMed2U may be able to help you learn more about managing your symptoms.
For more information about living well with Sjogren’s, please visit the Sjogren’s Foundation website at: https://www.sjogrens.org/living-with-sjogrens