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Botulinum toxin assessment, intervention and aftercare for paediatric and adult drooling: international consensus statement


D. Reddihough, Head, Developmental Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, 3052, Victoria, Australia (tel.: +61 3 9345 5898; fax: +61 3 9345 5871; e-mail:


Many individuals with neurological problems or anatomical abnormalities of the jaw, lips or oral cavity may drool, which can impact on health and quality of life. A thorough evaluation of the patient’s history, examination of the oral region by a speech pathologist and, in individuals over 3 years, a dental examination is warranted. Questionnaires with established validity such as the Drooling Impact Scale are useful assessment tools. A hierarchical approach to treatment is taken from least invasive therapies, such as speech pathology, to more invasive, such as injection of botulinum neurotoxin type-A (BoNT-A) into the salivary glands (parotid and submandibular). The wishes of the individual and their carer are crucial considerations in determining the suitability of the intervention for the patient. In the presence of dysphagia and cerebral palsy (CP), careful assessment is required prior to the injection of BoNT-A. Favourable responses to intervention include a reduction in the secretion of saliva and in drooling, as well as psychosocial improvements. BoNT-A is usually well tolerated, although potential side effects should be discussed with the patient and carer.