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Saliva production

CajunEagle's picture
Posts: 397
Joined: Oct 2009

This past summer I happened to visit my uncle, who had gone through Tonsil Cancer about 15 years ago. He was a tremendous resource and supporter during my treatment phase, and I asked him how he deals with dry mouth. He went to his medicine cabinet and took out a bottle of very small pills called "Pilocar". He takes one a day, and goes through the day mostly dry mouth free. He still carries around a small bottle of water, which he claims is by habit, and told me to ask my Doctor to prescribe it for me.......and just see if it would help. By gosh, it does seem to help. I'm taking them 3 times a day, and I've noticed lately that I just don't need to carry water with me all the time (except when I'm eating). Maybe it's just the natural coming back of the saliva glands, since I'm 18 months from my last (and FINAL :)) treatment, but it might just be the answer for one of you guys. Like my Dr. says....Try it as long as it doesn't have tremendous side effects, if it doesn't work.....we'll try something else.


DrMary's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

Pilcar is another name for pilocarpine (the generic name for Salagen). They had Doug on 5mg 4x/day since the start of radiation. He just finished radiation last Friday (didn't you hear the celebration around the world?) and has been able to swallow his saliva for the last few weeks. He will be taking it for months, they predict. When he was dehydrated, his saliva got very thick and foamy, which as an interesting side effect. He certainly doesn't make a lot of saliva, but enough to dry swallow on demand.

I had thought one side effect of the pilocarpine was his chronically runny nose, but that might actually be more due to lack of nose hair. It can cause both a chronic nagging cough and increased bronchial secretions (I was positive Doug had been aspirating food and was working on pneumonia for a while because of this). It can also make you sweat more (haven't seen that one). All of these stop when you stop taking it.

It's been used for over 100 years for glaucoma - most people should be able to take it and a lot swear by it.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Thanks for the advice

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

I didn't work for me. Had no increased saliva. The backs of my hands were soaking wet though. :( What the heck? Lol. I tried it for a little over a month.

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I took it for four month's & it did not work for me either. It caused excessive sweating & a runny nose. I wish some of that moisture would have gone into my mouth lol. My oncologist
mentioned to me that he really did blast me with the rads. Not in those terms of course. I appreciated his honesty.

terryscarlett's picture
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2010

David has been taking it for the whole time, during and after treatment "4 months" now with not much help so far. Probably to soon yet for anything to help much. That is his biggest complaint "dry mouth"
His feeding tube was clogged this morning. First time that has happened! I got the plunger thing from the syringe he feeds through and presto he was feeding again. Kind of scary, but we got er done. Just wanted to mention that in case someone else ever has that problem.
rozaroo, what are you using now? Do you just keep water by your side?

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I am just drinking water etc Terry. Plus it is winter here so I have my humidifier going
round the clock & keep my bedroom door closed. That way I keep the moisture inside my room. I have that darned water bottle with me shopping etc as it is very cold here -20 last night
& the air is dry everywhere.Drinking coffee or alcohol will make it worse so I lay off that
stuff.My nutrisionist mentioned to cut the salagen if it was not working so I did exactly
that. What work's for some may not work for other's.

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