Patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma face frightening, life-threatening symptoms, as well as others that affect their quality of life. The combination of the two creates a level of misery that leads to depression and, for some, withdrawal. A physician from the United Kingdom has found a simple but effective answer that has addressed one of the more irritating issues these patients face – drooling and trouble with swallowing caused by the disease’s spread.
Drooling is a Common Problem for Mesothelioma Patients
Uncontrollable drooling and trouble swallowing are common issues faced by patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Known to the medical community as sialorrhoea, the condition appears in mesothelioma patients when their tumors spread from the pleural cavity to their thyroid gland. Both the tumors and some of the treatments used to treat them can lead to problems with swallowing, which in turn leads to drooling. But Dr. Claire Plunkett of Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford, UK has found a solution to the problem that relieves the problem quickly and effectively.
In attempting to help her patients and improve their quality of life, Dr. Plunkett tested the use of a drug called glycopyrronium. Available as an injectable, in inhaled form, a topical and via intravenous, the drug is most commonly used in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, to address excess sweating, coughing, wheezing, peptic ulcers and breathlessness.
Mesothelioma Patient Treated With Inhaler Finds Fast Relief
Glycopyrronium had previously been used to treat drooling in mesothelioma patients, but the treatment was administered via injection. Dr. Plunkett tested its use in an inhaled format, finding that delivery was both more convenient and more effective. The 73-year-old patient she treated with the inhaler experienced relief in a period of just 48 hours, with a dose that was significantly lower than what he had been receiving via injection.
According to Dr. Plunkett, the patient suffers from the more aggressive form of mesothelioma known as sarcomatoid mesothelioma, yet after receiving just a few doses of 55 μg of glycopyrronium bromide per puff he experienced an abatement of symptoms. “He reported a significant decrease in his symptoms 2 days after initiation using a numerical rating scale,” she wrote. “A regular dose of one puff two times per day completely resolved the patient’s symptoms within 5 days.”
Though mesothelioma is always considered a fatal disease, relieving symptoms and improving patient quality of life is a high priority. For information on other treatments available, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.