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A systematic review for evidence of efficacy of anticholinergic drugs to treat drooling
  1. P H Jongerius1,
  2. P van Tiel3,
  3. J van Limbeek3,
  4. F J M Gabreëls1,
  5. J J Rotteveel2
  1. 1Department of Rehabilitation, University Medical Centre “UMC St Radboud”, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pediatric Neurology, University Medical Centre “UMC St Radboud”
  3. 3Sint Maartenskliniek, Rehabilitation Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr P H Jongerius, Department of Rehabilitation, University Medical Centre “St Radboud”, PO Box 9101 6500HB, Nijmegen (internal code 720), Netherlands;


Drooling frequently occurs in children with multiple handicaps; application of anticholinergic drugs is a potential strategy to treat drooling. A computer aided search of original studies concerning the treatment of drooling was carried out. The methodological and statistical integrity of the identified studies were assessed with previously defined criteria. The articles were weighed for their separate contribution to the evidence. The search resulted in 64 reports, of which seven studies passed the screening and were subjected to further assessment and discussion by three referees. Because of the small number of reports and the methodological restriction within the studies, no meta-analysis could be performed. No general conclusion could be made about the efficacy of anticholinergic drugs in treatment of drooling in children with multiple handicaps. There was some evidence that three anticholinergic drugs (benztropine, glycopyrrolate, and benzhexol hydrochloride) are effective in the treatment of drooling, but it could not be concluded that one drug is preferable.

  • drooling
  • multiple handicap
  • anticholinergic drugs
  • systematic review
  • NA, not applicable
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial

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