In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Myobloc for chronic or excessive drooling (sialorrhea) in Parkinson’s disease (PD). People with PD swallow less often, which can lead to drooling, especially after many years with disease. Drooling not only can be embarrassing and socially limiting, it also can lead to skin irritation. Myobloc is made from the bacteria that causes botulism (an infectious illness that causes weakness) and is injected into the glands that make saliva to temporarily block saliva production.
Compared to an oral medication, Myobloc has less potential for general, whole-body side effects and doesn’t require daily dosing. It typically starts working within about one week and lasts approximately three months.
Cons and Complications
Myobloc requires an injection every few months because the effects are temporary. Common side effects include bruising, pain, bleeding and swelling at the injection site. Because the drug decreases saliva production, it causes dry mouth and could lead to dental problems, such as tooth decay.
Myobloc also can cause weakness in muscles, such as those used for chewing, near the salivary glands. In rare cases, the botulinum toxin in the drug can spread to other areas of the body, causing swallowing or breathing problems.
The medical information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has a policy of refraining from advocating, endorsing or promoting any drug therapy, course of treatment, or specific company or institution. It is crucial that care and treatment decisions related to Parkinson's disease and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a physician or other qualified medical professional.