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Oral pilocarpine for treatment of opioid-induced oral dryness in healthy adults.

Journal article
Authors B Götrick
S Akerman
D Ericson
R Torstenson
Gunnar Tobin
Published in Journal of dental research
Volume 83
Issue 5
Pages 393-7
ISSN 0022-0345
Publication year 2004
Published at Institute of Physiology and Pharmacology, Dept of Pharmacology
Pages 393-7
Language en
Keywords Administration, Oral, Adult, Analgesics, Opioid, adverse effects, Analysis of Variance, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Male, Muscarinic Agonists, administration & dosage, therapeutic use, Pilocarpine, administration & dosage, therapeutic use, Placebos, Saliva, drug effects, secretion, Secretory Rate, drug effects, Tramadol, adverse effects, Xerostomia, chemically induced, drug therapy
Subject categories Pharmacology


Pilocarpine induces a profuse flow of saliva when administered orally, but effects on drug-induced oral dryness have not been examined. The aim of this trial was to investigate if pilocarpine increases production of saliva in individuals suffering from dry mouth due to treatment with opioids. Sixty-five individuals were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The subjects received tramadol (50 mg t.d.s.) to induce oral dryness, and were thereafter assigned to one of three groups. Secretion rate of saliva was measured before and after tramadol, and after the oral administration of pilocarpine (5 mg), placebo, or no treatment. Baseline characteristics did not differ among the groups (mean +/- SEM: 0.37 +/- 0.06 mL/min), and tramadol lowered the secretion at the same level in all groups (0.15 +/- 0.02 mL/min). Pilocarpine increased the flow above that observed with placebo (0.66 +/- 0.19 vs. 0.15 +/- 0.02 mL/min). Thus, pilocarpine re-establishes the flow of saliva in the state of tramadol-induced oral dryness.

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