Ultrasound-guided Botox injections into the salivary glands decrease drooling in children with neurologic impairments such as cerebral palsy, say researchers from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
“These children have little to no cognition because of their neurological condition, and as a result don’t have a normal swallowing reflex,” explained Peter Chait, MD, one of the researchers involved in the study. “This makes it difficult for the parents and caregivers and can cause sores, infections and other physical problems for the child.”
The researchers gave the injections to seven children multiple times at different dosage levels. Using questionnaires filled out by the parents and caregivers of the children before and after the injections, the researchers were able to ascertain that 70% of the total procedures for the seven children were successful, with the respondents reporting slight to marked improvement, and all stating they would opt for the Botox injections again. “Each child is unique in their response to the treatment, but in general we have found that the more often Botox is used and the higher the dose, the better the result. Now that we know it’s effective, we are trying to optimize the procedure,” said Dr. Chait.
No other safe, noninvasive treatment of severe drooling exists at present, say the researchers. Surgery is the only means available to treat the condition, and even that does not always work. According to Dr. Chait, all of the patients in the current study had undergone failed surgical procedures to alleviate their conditions prior to receiving the Botox injections.
The Botox procedure is also convenient, said Dr. Chait, since many of these patients are already receiving Botox treatment for muscle problems, and both conditions can be treated at the same time.
Dr. Chait will present the full results of the study on May 16 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.