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Molecule Description

Pilocarpine is a medicine which belongs to class of cholinergic agonists and mi

mics the action of a hormone called acetylcholine.


Uses of Pilocarpine

Mouth dryness (xerostomia) caused after radiation therapy in cancer Sjogren’s syndrome.

Contraindications of Pilocarpine

When should one not use Pilocarpine

  • Allergy to Pilocarpine
  • Uncontrolled asthma
  • Glaucoma
  • Eye infection
  • Eye inflammation

Side effects of Pilocarpine

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Allergic reaction like- fever, chills, rash, hives, breathing difficulty, swelling over your face, lips, and throat
  • Irregular breathing or heartbeats, headache, chest pain, shaking, and vomiting
  • Increased tears or perspiration
  • Vision changes- blurred vision
  • Increased urination
  • Chilliness
  • Weakness
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Dizziness

Precautions and Warnings of Pilocarpine



Can I take Pilocarpine during pregnancy?
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning for pregnancy. It is unknown whether it harms the unborn baby. Hence a doctor’s discretion is necessary before you start this drug.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Pilocarpine while breastfeeding?
  • It is unknown if this medicine can pass into breast milk and harm the child. Do not breastfeed while you are on Pilocarpine.


Can I drive if I have consumed Pilocarpine?
Pilocarpine may cause blurring of vision. Do not drive while you are taking Pilocarpine.


Can I consume alcohol with Pilocarpine?
Pilocarpine may cause blurred vision as a side effect. This side effect may worsen with alcohol. Do not drink alcohol while you are on this medicine.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • Lung problems (e.g., asthma, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Heart problems (e.g., heart failure, irregular pulse)
  • Gallbladder problems (e.g., gallstones)
  • Stomach problems (e.g., ulcers)
  • Liver problems (e.g., impaired liver function)
  • Nervous system problems/ mental problems
  • Kidney problems (e.g., renal insufficiency or kidney stones)
  • Eye problems (e.g., narrow-angle glaucoma)

Mode of Action of Pilocarpine

How Does It Work?

Pilocarpine acts by increasing the secretion of saliva in the mouth from the salivary glands, thereby reducing mouth dryness.

Interactions of Pilocarpine

Interactions with other medicines

  • Beta-blockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol). These may increase the heart-related side effects when taken along with Pilocarpine
  • Anticholinergic agents (Ipratropium, Atropine). These decrease the efficacy of Pilocarpine
  • Parasympathetic agents (Bethanechol). These increase the side effects of Pilocarpine

Interactions with food items

This medicine has interactions with alcohol.

Dosage of Pilocarpine


Excess Pilocarpine ingestion may cause tremors, head pain, change in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulty, confusion, vision changes, diarrhea, vomiting. Seek emergency medical at...
Read more

Missed a Dose

Take medicine as soon as you remember. If the missed dose falls at the time of your next scheduled dose, then skip it. Do not take an extra dose to compensate for the missed dose.

Content Details


Dr. Abhishek B L

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking Pilocarpine?

  • You must inform your doctor if you are suffering from any diseases of the heart, lungs, kidney, liver, and gallbladder
  • If you suffer from allergy of any kind
  • If you have any psychiatric condition
  • If you suffer from retinal detachment or an eye infection
  • Pilocarpine can interact with other drugs hence inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, supplements, or herbs. Also, tell your physician if you are stopping any medication

Q: When and how to consume the medicine?

  • You must take medicine precisely the way it is prescribed by the physician. Follow the instructions mentioned on the prescription label
  • Do not alter the dose unless recommended by your doctor
  • Do not take it longer or shorter than advised
  • The medicine can be taken with or without food
  • Drink more fluids when you are on pilocarpine treatment
  • It may take about 12 weeks for the drug to act
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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