Management & Treatment
Sjögren’s patients are managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, over the counter (OTC) products and prescription drugs. There are OTC products that can provide symptomatic relief for dryness and other aspects of the disease. Learn more about treatment options from your doctor and by participating in a local support group. Educating yourself is very important in managing Sjögren’s.
There are a few prescription medications that may be helpful in treating dry eyes, dry mouth, neuropathy, and other symptoms. Although there is currently no systemic medication that has been approved specifically for Sjögren’s, there are numerous clinical trials currently underway to identify an effective drug. Here are a few of the drugs that your doctor may prescribe depending upon your symptoms and complications. There are very limited studies available about the effectiveness of these drugs in Sjögren’s patients:
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- Corticosteroids (Prednisone)
There is currently no cure for Sjögren’s. It is a serious and potentially progressive disease but in general not fatal. Lymphoma (lymph node cancer) may occur in up to 10% of patients with Sjögren’s, but it tends to be slow growing and treated with effective drug protocols. It is also important for Sjögren’s patients to be monitored for organ involvement, such as in the liver, kidney, lungs and nervous system. In 30% of patients, Sjögren’s will co-exist with another autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Many Sjögren’s patients look to both traditional and alternative treatments to find what works the best. Some of the most commonly used therapies are functional medicine, diet modifications (anti-inflammatory and gluten-free diets), supplements, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, Tai-Chi, and other forms of exercise.