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Sjogren's syndrome and radiation therapy for head and neck cancers are often accompanied by xerostomia. Oral pilocarpine (PCP) to treat xerostomia produces systemic side effects, such as runny nose and lacrimation. To improve the therapeutic efficacy of PCP and reduce the aforementioned side effects, we developed a topical delivery system for PCP using freeze-dried sheets of hyaluronic acid (HA). The advantages of HA sheets over conventional oral formulations were examined through in vivo pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies after their application to oral tissues and salivary glands. The concentration of PCP in the submucosal tissue of the oral cavity was determined using the microdialysis (MD) method after buccal application of HA sheets containing PCP to hamsters. The concentration of PCP in the MD outflow was quite low after gastric administration, whereas the PCP concentration in plasma was high. In contrast, after buccal application of HA sheets containing PCP, the concentration of the drug in the MD outflow increased, despite the negligible concentration in plasma. These findings indicated that both enhancement of saliva secretion and the avoidance of systemic side effects could be achieved through buccal administration of PCP-loaded HA sheets. In addition, the pharmacodynamic study showed that when compared with intravenous and gastric administration, salivary application of HA sheets containing PCP resulted in similar volumes of saliva secretion and reduced lacrimal secretions. In conclusion, freeze-dried HA sheets allow for the development of a novel buccal delivery system with enhanced therapeutic efficacy and safety to treat xerostomia.


Akiko Tanaka, Hiroyuki Nakano, Kunio Yoneto, Chika Yoneto, Tomoyuki Furubayashi, Kei Suzuki, Azusa Okae, Takaaki Ueno, Toshiyasu Sakane. Topical Xerostomia Treatment with Hyaluronate Sheets Containing Pilocarpine. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin. 2022;45(4):403-408

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PMID: 35370264

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