Pilocarpine is alkaloid, extracted from the leaves of thePilocarpus plants. This alkaloid acts as the parasympathomimetic, which means itresembles muscarinic effects on the parasymphatetic nervous system.
Pilocarpine eye drops are used as any other eye drops. Wash yourhands thoroughly and remove the protective cap from the bottle. Tilt your headto the back and create a pouch in the lower eyelid. Drop the prescribed dose ofpilocarpine eye drops into the eye and try not to blink for a minute. After that,put the cap on the bottle and tighten it.
Pilocarpine Eye Drops Use
Pilocarpine is mainly used to treat different eye problems,especially glaucoma. This is an eye problem that affects the optic nerve,because of the increased pressure in the eye. The pressure in the eye can severelydamage the optic nerve and cause irreversible loss of vision. Pilocarpine eyedrops are used in this case to relieve the symptoms of glaucoma.
There are two ways to lower the high pressure in the eyes. Oneis to increase the fluid drainage from the eye and the other to slow theproduction of eye fluid. Pilocarpine stimulates the muscles around the eyes andthat stimulation causes pressure on the drainage channels, which increase therate of fluid drainage. Without excess fluid in the eye, there is no more heightenedeye pressure and glaucoma.
Pilocarpine eye drops are also used to treat other eyeconditions. In patients that just had their phakic intraocular lensesimplanted, Pilocarpine eye drops are used to decrease the risk of glare fromlights at night. For this indication, doctors usually recommend eye drops with1% or even less Pilocarpine.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) diagnosis would be impossible withoutpilocarpine. This alkaloid can stimulate the sweat glands, leading to increasedsweating. In CF patients this is immensely important, because they excretechloride and sodium through the sweat. Measuring the concentration of theseminerals, doctors are able to diagnose this condition properly.
Pilocarpine is useful as the antidote for poisoning,especially if a person was poisoned with hyoscyamine, scopolamine or atropine.
Pilocarpine is also used to reduce the side effects of theradiation therapy. It increases the production of saliva and sweat and thusrelieves dry mouth (xerostomia) in chemotherapy patients, especially in thosetreated for head and neck cancers.
Pilocarpine Adverse Effects
Don’t ever use pilocarpine eye drops without theprescription from your doctor.
Most side effects of pilocarpine are associated with thefirst use of these eye drops. Patients could complain about blurred vision, andsometimes headache, dizziness, or stinginess. All symptoms usually disappear veryquickly, but if they get prolonged or worsened you should consult your doctor immediately.The same goes for sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and heartbeat problems – if anyof these occur, call your doctor.