Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: sjogrens | syndrome | immune | disorder | dry | eyes | dry

Is Sjogren's Treatable?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 11:02 AM

Question: My daughter was recently diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome. I had never heard of this disease. Is it treatable?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder of your immune system identified by its two most common symptoms, namely, dry eyes and a dry mouth. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disoreder, and may co-exist with other immune-system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis to name just two.
In Sjogren's syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth dry up, 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 initially and treating underlying conditions.
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. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories help to ease the pain of arthritis. Sometimes hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a drug designed to treat malaria, is helpful in treating Sjogren's syndrome. Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, may also be prescribed in severe cases.
There are a surgical remedies to relieve dry eyes.The tear ducts that drain tears from the eyes can have collagen or silicone plugs inserted to close up drainage ducts for a temporary closure. Collagen plugs eventually dissolve, but silicone plugs stay in place until they fall out or are removed. Alternatively, doctors may use a laser to permanently seal tear ducts.

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Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes dry eyes and dry mouth.
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 11:02 AM
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