The management of Sjögren's syndrome

Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2006 May;2(5):252-61. doi: 10.1038/ncprheum0165.


Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder, characterized by lymphocytic infiltration and malfunction of the exocrine glands, resulting in dry mouth and eyes. The syndrome can present either alone (primary Sjögren's syndrome) or in the context of an underlying connective tissue disease (secondary Sjögren's syndrome). Systemic features, resulting from cutaneous, respiratory, renal, hepatic, neurologic, and vascular involvement, often occur. Two types of primary Sjögren's syndrome are currently recognized: a benign disease that affects quality of life, and a systemic syndrome associated with increased morbidity and mortality owing to a high risk of malignant transformation, and that requires close follow-up. Ocular involvement, manifested as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is managed with local and systemic stimulators of tear secretion and supportive surgical procedures. Treatment of oral manifestations includes intense oral hygiene, prevention and treatment of oral infections, use of saliva substitutes, and local and systematic stimulation of salivary secretion. Cholinergic agents, such as pilocarpine and cevimeline, are helpful in patients with residual salivary function, and ciclosporin ocular drops seem to be of some benefit. Systemic immunosuppressives are reserved for treatment of severe extraglandular manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome. Anti-B-cell therapy is a new potential therapy for the glandular and extraglandular manifestations, such as glomerulonephritis or vasculitis, in addition to the management of lymphoma associated with Sjögren's syndrome. Induction of oral tolerance and gene-transfer modalities were recently attempted in animal models, with promising results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology
  • Mouth Diseases / therapy
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Hyaluronic Acid