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Sialorrhea--A Management Challenge - Article
ABSTRACT: Sialorrhea (drooling or excessive salivation) is a common problem in neurologically impaired children (i.e., those with mental retardation or cerebral palsy) and in adults who have Parkinson's disease or have had a stroke. It is most commonly caused by poor oral and facial muscle control. Contributing factors may include hypersecretion of saliva, dental malocclusion, postural problems, and an inability to recognize salivary spill. Sialorrhea causes a range of physical and psychosocial complications, including perioral chapping, dehydration, odor, and social stigmatization, that can be devastating for patients and their families. Treatment of sialorrhea is best managed by a clinical team that includes primary health care providers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, dentists, orthodontists, neurologists, and otolaryngologists. Treatment options range from conservative (i.e., observation, postural changes, biofeedback) to more aggressive measures such as medication, radiation, and surgical therapy. Anticholinergic medications, such as glycopyrrolate and scopolamine, are effective in reducing drooling, but their use may be limited by side effects. The injection of botulinum toxin type A into the parotid and submandibular glands is safe and effective in controlling drooling, but the effects fade in several months, and repeat injections are necessary. Surgical intervention, including salivary gland excision, salivary duct ligation, and duct rerouting, provides the most effective and permanent treatment of significant sialorrhea and can greatly improve the quality of life of patients and their families or caregivers.