Do people with intellectual disabilities understand their prescription medication? A scoping review

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Background: People with intellectual disabilities are more likely to experience poor health than the general population and are frequently prescribed multiple medications. Therefore, it is important that people with intellectual disabilities understand their medication and potential adverse effects. Method: A scoping review explored people with intellectual disabilities' knowledge of prescription medications, their risks and how medication understanding can be improved. Results: Ten journal articles were included. People with intellectual disabilities often lacked understanding of their medication, including its name, purpose and when and how to take it. Participants were often confused or unaware of adverse effects associated with their medication. Information was sometimes explained to carers rather than people with intellectual disabilities. Some interventions and accessible information helped to improve knowledge in people with intellectual disabilities. Conclusion: There is a need for accessible and tailored information about medication to be discussed with people with intellectual disabilities in order to meet legal and best practice standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1388
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number6
Early online date24 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • decision making
  • intellectual disability
  • medicine
  • prescriptions


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