The impact of salivary flow reduction following medication (scopolamine and botulinum neurotoxin) on social interaction and emotional development (self-esteem) was evaluated in a group of 45 children with cerebral palsy who suffered from severe drooling. The children ranged in age from 3 to 16 years (median 9.1 years); 28 were male, 17 female. A questionnaire to document the impact of drooling on social interaction and self-esteem for both the children and their parents was developed and administered during the use of scopolamine and up to 24 weeks after intraglandular botulinum neurotoxin in the submandibular glands. The reduction of drooling was related to increased social contacts with peers. In addition, parents perceived that the impact of drooling on the level of the child's satisfaction on physical appearance, relations within the extended family, and life in general increased. Although medication led to (temporary) positive changes, many social and emotional consequences remained unchanged.
Conclusion: Interventions to treat drooling should not only be evaluated using measurements of drooling, but the consequences on social interaction and self-esteem should also be assessed.