Objective: To compare the effect of a single 5-mg dose of pilocarpine hydrochloride on the salivary flow rate in three groups of xerostomic patients. Subjects and methods: Forty-five patients were divided into three groups according to the etiology of their xerostomia: (i) radiotherapy; (ii) Sjögren's syndrome; and (iii) sialosis and xerogenic medications. Following the oral administration of a 5-mg pilocarpine hydrochloride tablet blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and saliva secretion rates were monitored hourly for 3 h and adverse events were reported. Results: The most significant and persistent elevation of salivary flow rate was observed in the sialosis/drug-induced group followed by the Sjögren's syndrome group. The radiotherapy group presented a significant elevation of salivary secretion rate after 1 and 2 h, but returned to baseline at 3 h. No significant changes in vital signs were reported, except for low diastolic pressure measured at 1 h in the radiotherapy group. Several adverse events were recorded throughout the trial; however, only one patient withdrew from the study. Conclusion: Treatment with pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets may improve saliva secretion in patients taking xerogenic medications and/or suffering from metabolic sialosis expanding the beneficial potential of this sialogogue.
- Salivary glands