Sjögren's Syndrome: Treatment

Reviewed by Mehrnaz Maleki, MD
It is important to recognize that there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome. In addition, because it is a chronic disease, people often require medical therapy for many years.

Goals of therapy vary for each person, since treatment is guided by the organs that are affected.

Dry eyes

Take care of your eyes. Changes can happen to your eyes.

  • Artificial tears and ointments can be used to keep the eyes moist.

  • Medications like cyclosporine eyedrop/Restasis® can be used as well.

  • On occasion, ophthalmologic procedures are needed to maintain eye moisture. See your eye doctor every year. 

 

Dry mouth

Take care of your mouth and teeth. People with Sjögren’s syndrome are at increased risk for gum disease and infections.

  • See the dentist every six months.

  • Brush your teeth for three minutes at least two times a day. Don’t forget your gums!

  • Floss at least once a day. If away from home, use a toothpick to clean between your teeth.

  • When you're done brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with water.

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

  • Artificial saliva tablets can be used to keep your mouth moist.

  • Saliva stimulants (pilocarpine/Salagen® and cevimeline/Evoxac®) can be used for dryness of the mouth.

  • Treat any nasal symptoms to help prevent mouth breathing.

 

Fatigue and joint symptoms

For fatigue and joint symptoms, your doctor may prescribe hydroxychloroquine.  For joint swelling, your doctor may prescribe medications that are used for rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Nervous and blood vessel symptoms

When there is evidence of blood vessel damage, nervous system involvement or lung involvement due to Sjögren's syndrome, potent immunosuppression with corticosteroids (such as prednisone) and other immunosuppressants may be required.  Your doctor may also use rituximab in severe cases.  This is used to control the underlying autoimmune and inflammatory response.

 

Clinical Trials

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.