Not Swallowing

My husband has Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. He is 66 years old and was diagnosed with PD in 2001 (had symptoms several years before); with dementia in 2005. I know that drooling can become an issue with PD, however this is not the problem. There are many instances when he “holds” liquids, sometimes food in his mouth. He can swallow fine when he’s wants to, i.e, thirsty or hungry. Generally when he takes his first dose of Stalevo at 7:00 a.m. he will drink at least a cup of liquid without any difficulty. We have tried all kinds of “tricks” i.e., ice cream, different kinds of drinks. At times he looks like a chipmunk because his mouth is full of saliva, pill, and drink. He will not spit it out either. He has held for hours which is not good for his health. Can anyone give me any idea what’s going on here. This has been an issue for years. Takes meds 11 times per day — difficult getting them in when this problem occurs — which is generally every day now particularly later in the day.

Dr. Sanchez-Ramos said...

Swallowing and speech become a problem as PD advances. I recommend a consultation with a speech therapist and a swallowing evaluation (modified barium swallow test). This will be helpful for providing the best advice. Sometimes the levodopa helps swallowing, but in some patients it doesn’t.