Sialorrhea in patients with ALS: current treatment options.Degener Neurol Neuromuscul Dis 2019; 9:19-26DN
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the motor neuron, which selectively affects it both at central (first motor-neuron) and peripheral level (second motor-neuron). The disease shows up at a mean age of 56 years and the most affected are males. Although ALS may start as a bulbar or spinal disease, with the progression of the disease typically both become evident. Pharmacological approved treatments for ALS are still limited and include riluzole and edaravone which improve survival over time. Despite this, ALS leads to progressive muscle involvement and requires a complex multidisciplinary approach to manage increasing disability which goes beyond motor neurons. Sialorrhea is, amongst others, one of the most disabling symptoms in ALS. The complexity in managing saliva is due to a muscular spasticity and to a scarce palatino-lingual muscles control, rather than to an overproduction of saliva. These features could increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia and limit the use of noninvasive mechanical ventilation. We reviewed the treatment for sialorrhea in ALS patients that are available at this time, emphasizing pros and cons for each approach. Our purpose is to create a practical tool for the diagnosis, in order to facilitate the quantification and management of sialorrhea in everyday practice.