Using a Saliva Stimulant for Dry Mouth and Dry Eyes

Last updated: January 2023

My rheumatologist prescribed the saliva stimulant Cevimeline to treat my dry mouth symptoms. Based on my symptoms of dry mouth, dry eyes, and numbness and tingling in my hands, she believed I have Sjogren’s Disease.

Although my lab work for Sjogren’s came back negative, my doctor says that I could still have it. But with an unclear diagnosis, she didn’t feel comfortable starting me on an immunosuppressant. However, she did offer me a saliva stimulant to combat my dry mouth.

Taking it

Dry mouth doesn’t bother me as much as my dry eyes do, because I’ve just gotten used to having dry mouth. But I still wanted to try the medication. In addition to helping produce more saliva, some research has suggested that Cevimeline may increase tear production.1

I take 30 milligrams three times a day. I slowly built up to this amount. For the first week, I just took it once a day. Then, I began taking two doses a day. Finally, I worked up to three doses. I usually take it at meals, as eating is a good reminder. I have now been taking this medication for three months, as of my writing this, and I have noticed some improvement.

Changes I've noticed

Here is what I have felt: I notice a robust surge of saliva for about an hour after I take the medication. But then this surge begins to wane, and I notice that my mouth is dry again a few hours after taking it. That feeling also reminds me to take my next dose. My doctor says that some people experience drooling because of increased saliva; I have not experienced this, though. My mouth is just a little more comfortable.

I have also noticed that the medication does help make my eyes just a little more comfortable as well for a few hours. This effect was cumulative; I didn’t begin to notice increased comfort with my eyes until after taking the pill for two months. Like my saliva, though, the comfort of my eyes dissipates a few hours after taking the medication, and I have to take it again.

Side effects

Some side effects that I have noticed include increased sweating and more frequent urination. I especially notice an increase in sweat for about an hour after I take the medication. I didn’t sweat a lot to begin with, so the sweat is not unmanageable. I just sometimes notice that my armpits and back feel sweaty after I take it. I also have to use the bathroom a lot more. There are other possible side effects, but these are the only ones that I have experienced.

I plan to continue taking the medication, as I feel that it is helping me.

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