WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Botulinum toxin
injections may temporarily relieve drooling in children with
certain neurological conditions, a new European study has
Depending on its severity, drooling can lead to stigmatization
and social neglect, numerous daily clothing changes, skin
irritation around the mouth, aspiration pneumonia and dehydration,
Dr. Arthur Scheffer of Radboud University Medical Center in
Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and colleagues noted in a news release
about their study.
In the study, Scheffer's team gave botulinum toxin injections to
131 children, average age 10.9 years, with cerebral palsy or other
non-progressive neurological conditions, as well as moderate to
severe drooling. The injections were confined to the submandibular
glands, which are responsible for 70 percent of saliva production
while a person is resting.
Two months after the injections, the average drooling quotient
had fallen to 15.5 (on a scale of zero to 100) from 28.8 at the
start of the study. And, the study authors noted, 61 patients
achieved a 50 percent reduction in drooling.
At the eight-month follow-up, the average drooling quotient was
18.7, according to the report in the September issue of the journal
Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.
The findings "indicate that most patients who initially respond
well to injection can expect an effect to last between 19 and 33
weeks. Although the 46.6 percent success rate might appear low, its
safety and efficacy make botulinum toxin a useful first-line
invasive treatment if conservative measures have failed," the
researchers concluded in the news release from the journal's
Botulinum toxin injections have been used safely for years,
according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Side effects can
include rash, whole-body muscle soreness, difficulty swallowing and
weakness in the injected muscles, but they usually go away quickly,
the AAP notes.
The March of Dimes has more about