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Radiotherapy to the salivary glands as treatment of sialorrhea in patients with parkinsonism

Authors

  • Anna-Gerlind Postma,

    1. Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Mart Heesters MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Radiotherapy, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Teus van Laar MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    • Movement Disorder Unit, Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, P.O. Box 30 001, Groningen 9700 RB, The Netherlands
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Abstract

This study investigated retrospectively the long-term efficacy and safety of radiotherapy (RT) to the major salivary glands as treatment of sialorrhea in patients with parkinsonism. Twenty-eight patients received a bilateral dose of 12 Gy to the parotid and part of the submandibular glands between 2001 and 2006. Severity of sialorrhea and adverse events were assessed at 1 and 6 months post-RT and finally in the first quarter of 2007. Item 6 of the activities of daily living-section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale was used as primary endpoint. Quality of life (QoL) pre- and post-RT was investigated using a shortened Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-8. Sialorrhea had improved significantly at 1 month post-RT and this effect was maintained for at least 1 year. Most frequent adverse events were loss of taste and a dry mouth; however, 75% of these adverse events were transient. QoL had improved significantly on the long term. The clinical global impression scores at the final follow-up showed that 80% of patients were satisfied. It was concluded that RT is an effective and safe treatment of sialorrhea on the long term in patients with parkinsonism. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society

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