• February 28, 2024
  • Dr Peter Landsberg

Last updated on February 20, 2024

Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease, afflicts many people with its hallmark symptoms of a dry mouth and eyes. Understanding the array of treatment options available is crucial for those seeking relief and a return to normalcy.

https://arthritiscare.com.au/ArthritisCARE has created this guide all about ‘What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome?’

Treatment For Sjögren's Syndrome

What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome? Sjogren’s syndrome impacts the moisture-producing glands and tissues in your body, resulting in a decreased ability to produce tears and saliva. This causes dry lips and mouth, dry irritated eyes and other symptoms.

The nature of Sjögren’s syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly targets and damages its moisture-producing glands, such as the tear ducts or salivary glands. This leads to reduced moisture in various parts of the body, chiefly affecting the eyes and mouth.

Primary symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth, that can make swallowing difficult and can lead to dental issues.
  • Burning, dry eyes that can feel gritty.
  • Joint pain

Other symptoms may include vaginal dryness, dry skin, fatigue and swelling of the gland in the neck or face. Sjögren’s syndrome commonly occurs as a complication of other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus or connective tissue disease.

How to cure Sjögren’s syndrome

Currently, there is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome. While ‘curing’ implies the complete resolution of a disease, ‘managing’ Sjögren’s syndrome refers to ongoing strategies designed to reduce the impact of symptoms on daily life. With a proactive and collaborative approach, your condition can be effectively managed. The focus is improving patient comfort and preventing complications rather than eliminating the disease entirely.

Treatment For Sjögren's Syndrome

What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome? Currently, we don’t know how to cure Sjögren’s syndrome, however many treatment options alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome?

Signs and symptoms vary widely between people with Sjögren’s syndrome. Treatment is tailored to the specific symptoms and can include over-the-counter or prescription medications, lifestyle changes and a collaborative approach with your rheumatologist, GP, dentist and optometrist.

Beyond Symptom Relief

Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, need a comprehensive and holistic approach that will alleviate symptoms and address the underlying immune system dysregulation. Recognising that Sjögren’s can have widespread effects beyond dryness of the eyes and mouth – such as fatigue, joint pain, and internal organ involvement – is crucial.

Treating Sjögren’s syndrome often includes medications to suppress the overactive immune system and to treat things such as dry mouth symptoms, burning eyes or joint and muscle pain. These medications alongside lifestyle changes and regular monitoring by dentists and eye doctors are essential to effectively manage Sjögren’s syndrome.

Common Treatment Options

Treatment options for people with Sjögren’s syndrome aim to manage symptoms and support immune system health and function.

Over-the-Counter Products

Quick relief can often be found through products that stimulate saliva flow or tear production, keep your eyes or mouth moist and address skin or vaginal dryness:

  • Artificial tears
  • Artificial saliva
  • Medicated mouth rinses
  • Hydrating eye drops
  • Moisturisers
Treatment For Sjögren's Syndrome

What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome? Your doctor or rheumatologist can provide advice about over-the-counter products such as eye drops, mouthwashes and moisturisers that can alleviate the symptoms related to your disease.

Prescription Medications

To effectively treat your conditions you may require prescription medications, such as:

  • Immune system suppressants such as hydroxychloroquine or methotrexate
  • Pilocarpine or Cevimeline to stimulate salivary glands for increased saliva production
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for joint pain and stiffness
  • Biologic therapies to modulate the immune system

Lifestyle Adjustments

People with Sjögren’s syndrome are at an increased risk of dental decay or eye issues due to the common symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth. Some simple lifestyle adjustments can help monitor and improve your overall health:

  • Regular appointments with an eye doctor and dentist
  • Good oral hygiene practices
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking

Collaborative healthcare for comprehensive treatment

Navigating the complexities of Sjögren’s syndrome requires a multidisciplinary strategy, with the collaborative expertise of rheumatologists, optometrists, and dentists. This team-based approach ensures that all facets of the condition are addressed, from the autoimmune components to the symptomatic relief of dry eyes and mouth.

Treatment For Sjögren's Syndrome

What is treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome? A collaborative approach with your GP, Rheumatologist, dentist and eye doctor is essential in managing your condition.

Regular check-ups and diligent monitoring form an integral part of this strategy, enabling healthcare providers to detect and respond to any shifts in your condition. This is especially important due to the increased risk of things such as dental decay.

A personalised treatment plan, incorporating a multidisciplinary approach is designed based on an individual’s symptomatology, disease progression and overall health. Through ongoing assessment, treatment is continually refined, ensuring that each patient receives the most responsive and adaptive care possible, tailored to their changing needs and circumstances.

Experimental and future treatments for Sjögren’s syndrome

There’s a growing interest in biological treatments for Sjögren’s syndrome. Findings suggest that while current trials focus on direct symptoms like dryness, they often miss associated symptoms such as fatigue and depression. New treatments are being explored that focus on the body’s inflammatory and immune responses.

For better treatment, new grading systems that consider these wider symptoms are needed. Looking ahead, gene and stem-cell therapies could play a role in treating Sjögren’s syndrome.

Living with Sjögren’s syndrome

Living with Sjögren’s syndrome requires a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. With effective management people with Sjögren’s syndrome can improve their health and quality of life.

ArthritisCARE offers diagnostic tools (such as blood tests and physical assessments) to diagnose Sjögren’s syndrome and create tailored solutions for effective management. Contact us and make an appointment with one of our friendly rheumatologists today.


What are the best medications for Sjögren’s syndrome?

For managing Sjögren’s, treatment often includes:

  • Artificial tears
  • Eye drops to keep eyes moist
  • Artificial saliva
  • Moisturiser for dry skin
  • NSAIDs or pain relief medications for joint pain

Individuals need to work with their healthcare providers to create a tailored treatment plan that addresses their specific needs.

Is Sjögren’s a serious disease?

Sjögren’s syndrome is generally a mild disease however it can become more serious if left untreated or when it is a complication of other rheumatic diseases such as lupus or connective tissue disease. Rarely other internal organs such as the bowels may be impacted.

What are Sjögren’s syndrome complications?

While many individuals experience mild symptoms, others may suffer from significant complications like dental issues due to dry mouth, eye damage due to dry eyes, or systemic or nervous system effects such as kidney dysfunction or increased risk of lymphoma. Early and effective treatment is crucial to manage the disease and minimise the risk of serious complications.

Dr Peter Landsberg

About The Author

Dr Peter Landsberg

Dr Peter Landsberg practices general Rheumatology with a special interest in inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue disorders. His holistic approach to medicine stems from the 12 years he spent as a GP before studying Rheumatology. On weekends you’ll find him trying (not always successfully) to stay upright on his mountain bike as he rides downhill tracks. Or out on Moreton Bay in his well-used tinnie, fishing with his family and the dog!

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