Two drugs approved for dry mouth, pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac), may also be useful for dry eyes. While they haven’t been approved for dry eyes, your doctor may prescribe them for that purpose. Also, if you take one of these drugs for dry mouth, it may help your eyes as well.

In severe cases, your doctor may consider an outpatient procedure called punctal occlusion, which involves cauterizing the puncta (small openings at the inner corners of the eyelids where tears drain from the eyes) to close them, keeping your eye's natural tears on their surface longer. Another option is to temporarily close the puncta with a collagen plug.

Tips for easing dry eyes:

  • Avoid sitting next to air conditioners or heaters. Adjust the fans in your car so that air doesn't blow directly on your face.
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night.
  • Make a conscious effort to blink throughout the day, especially if you work at computer.
  • Take a break during the day to close your eyes and relax. Cover your eyes with a warm washcloth.
  • Eat more fish. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids in coldwater fish eases dry eyes.

Esophagus

More than helping food go down the throat, saliva helps neutralize the acidity of gastric acids once it gets there. When saliva is lacking, you may experience heartburn. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve other Sjögren's symptoms can worsen the problem.

Treatment: Medications that can help include:

  • sucralfate (Carafate) – an ulcer medication that coats and protects the esophagus and stomach.
  • H2 blockers, also called H2-receptor antagonists – medications that reduce the production of gastric acid by blocking histamine2. H2 blockers include cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac).
  • Proton pump inhibitors – a group of medications that decrease the amount of acid in the stomach and intestines. They include omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), rabeprazole (Aciphex), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and pantoprazole (Protonix).

Tips for relieving heartburn:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Make a note of foods that tend to worsen your heartburn and avoid those when possible. Common culprits include fatty foods, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate and caffeine.
  • Avoid eating for at least two hours before going to bed at night, so that the stomach has a chance to empty and acid levels decrease before you lie down.
  • Elevate the head of your bed on two-inch blocks to keep gastric acid from washing back into your esophagus while you sleep.

Upper Respiratory System

In healthy people, nasal secretions keep nasal passages moist, helping to protect against infection. If your nasal passages are dry, you may feel that you’re constantly battling sinusitis and post nasal drip. While Dr. Fox says his Sjögren’s patients don’t get sinus infections more frequently than other people, he has found that their infections tend to last longer and have a higher chance of persisting with postnasal drip and cough or developing into bronchitis or pneumonia.