Medicine & USMLE


Other Drugs
  1. Isotretinoin
  2. Pilocarpine


Pilocarpine is a drug that works to increase cholinergic signaling. It is clinically used to treat glaucoma. It does this by causing pupil constriction, which decreases ocular pressure by allowing fluid to drain out of the eye. Taken in excess, pilocarpine can cause the side effect of cholinergic overload.

Key Points

  • Pilocarpine (Pilocar, Isopto Carpine)
    • Mechanism
      • Cholinergic Drug
        • Mimics the effect of acetylcholine
    • Clinical Uses
      • Glaucoma
        • Constricts the pupils (miosis), opening the Schlemm canal and thus promoting drainage of aqueous humor (fluid)
        • Decreases ocular pressure
      • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
        • When given orally
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Cholinergic Side Effects
        • Systemic side effects are not very common when given via eye drops but symptoms of systemic absorption include:
          • Urinary frequency
          • Diarrhea
          • Lacrimation
          • Diaphoresis
          • Bradycardia
          • Hypotension