Sjögren's Syndrome

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Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the salivary glands, resulting in dry mouth, and the tear glands, resulting in dry eyes. It can also affect other parts of the body including joints, muscles and nerves, and organs such as the lungs, and kidneys or glands such as the thyroid gland). Primary Sjögren's syndrome is the term we use when the condition is not associated with another connective tissue disease. We use the term 'secondary' Sjögren's syndrome when it occurs in people who have another connective tissue disease such as lupus, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis

The disease is named after the Swedish eye doctor, Henrik Sjögren, who first described it in 1933. He had been treating a group of women who had chronic arthritis accompanied by dry eyes and mouth.

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At this time there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome. Therefore treatment is designed to control the symptoms and prevent the damage to the teeth or the surface of the eye. Establishing the correct diagnosis is important because something can be done to manage most forms of arthritis and most therapies work best when started early in the disease.

As there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, treatment is aimed at preventing damage to the eyes with artificial tears and other measures. The dry mouth is often best managed by stimulating saliva with sugar-free candy or sipping very small amounts of water. The treatment plan will be based on your individual needs. Your active involvement in developing your prescribed treatment plan is essential.

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Arthritis medications are designed to control a disease, slow its progression, and to help manage pain. There is a wide range of options – with new ones coming on the horizon – so understanding all possible treatments is not easy. 

These medications can be very complex, so you are encouraged to ask for in-depth explanations from your health care team – including pharmacists, who are an excellent source of information. 

To explore this area of treatment, The Arthritis Society has developed a comprehensive expert guide that delivers detailed information on medications used to treat arthritis.

Explore the Arthritis Medications A Reference Guide

The optimal treatment is what is best in each individual case – so speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist about what kind of medications are most appropriate for you.

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