Medication use and potentially inappropriate prescribing in older adults with intellectual disabilities: a neglected area of research

Maire O’Dwyer, Philip McCallion, Mary McCarron, Martin Henman
  • Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, June 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/2042098618782785

Medication use and whether it is appropriate in older people with intellectual disability

What is it about?

This review of published studies showed that older people with intellectual disability have different patterns of illnesses, with higher rates of epilepsy and mental health conditions than those without intellectual disability. Use of more than 5 medication is common and some prescribing practices may be not balance the risks and benefits as well as they should. There may also be under-use of clinically needed therapies.

Why is it important?

It is known that for all adults, the extent of potentially inappropriate prescribing increases with advancing age and additional illnesses. There are even greater concerns among older adults with intellectual disability (ID) who are living longer than before but still have premature mortality and poorer health outcomes compared with the general population.


Dr martin c henman (Author)
University of Dublin Trinity College

More of these people are being cared for at home by their families and in group homes or sheltered housing and in both cases the people with intellectual disability and their carers need the support of pharmacists to help them manage their medicines and the risks associated with them.

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The following have contributed to this page: Maire O'Dwyer and Dr martin c henman