Management of drooling in children: a survey of UK paediatricians' clinical practice

Child Care Health Dev. 2012 Mar;38(2):287-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01213.x. Epub 2011 Mar 11.


Background: Drooling is common in children with disordered oral-motor control. There is little evidence about the comparative effectiveness of different interventions used to reduce the impact of drooling. Anecdotal reports suggest clinicians' management of drooling varies widely. The aims of this survey were to establish which drooling interventions are currently used, how their effectiveness is monitored and how frequently adverse effects are reported.

Methods: 151 UK paediatricians completed a questionnaire about their management of drooling.

Results: Paediatricians saw one new child with problematic drooling and three follow-up children per month. The most common prescribing pattern was hyoscine first line (84.7%) followed by glycopyrronium bromide second line. The reported rate of adverse effects of medications was lower than expected (median 10% for hyoscine). Very few paediatricians used standardized methods of measuring the medication's effectiveness or adverse effects.

Conclusion: Paediatricians regularly see small numbers of children with problematic drooling. Their clinical management of drooling varies; this is most likely because of a lack of evidence about the most effective approach. Comparative trials of interventions and the development of evidence-based clinical guidelines would improve the management of children's drooling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Management*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycopyrrolate / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Pediatrics
  • Scopolamine / therapeutic use
  • Sialorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Scopolamine
  • Glycopyrrolate