Pharmacist interventions for persons with intellectual disabilities: A scoping review Academic Article uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) often have complex health needs due to the development of multiple comorbidities. Given the higher associated use of problematic medications, such as antipsychotics, and polypharmacy, persons with ID may be particularly vulnerable to adverse side effects. With their medication expertise, pharmacists have the potential to address medication related challenges experienced by this population. OBJECTIVE: Explore what is known about the care pharmacists provide to persons with ID. DESIGN: Following Arksey and O'Malley's 5-stage framework for scoping reviews, searches of the PubMed (MEDLINE), Ovid EMBASE, Ovid International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Scopus and APA PsycINFO databases were conducted in January 2019 with no limits on publication date. Studies of participants diagnosed with ID or healthcare providers/caregivers of persons with ID that referenced a pharmacist care intervention were included. Studies with non-human populations and editorials, commentaries, letters to the editor or discussion papers were excluded. RESULTS: Twenty-six studies were included in the review. Seventy-six pharmacist care interventions were identified in cognitive pharmacy services (n = 46); educational and advisory services (n = 20); and medication prescription processing (n = 10). Fifty-one outcomes were referenced including drug-related interventions (n = 14), drug related problems (n = 9), cost/time-effectiveness (n = 7), secondary symptoms (n = 6), other outcomes (n = 5), general medication usage (n = 4), caregiver and healthcare team satisfaction levels (n = 3), and educational/knowledge (n = 3). CONCLUSION: Pharmacists perform a variety of health care services to persons with ID but the impact of these interventions cannot be accurately measured due to a lack of: 1) universal definitions for ID; 2) reporting of multifactorial conditions contributing to a spectrum of ID severity; and 3) standardized reporting of ID-specific outcomes. Addressing these gaps is necessary for the development of a comprehensive evidence base regarding pharmacist involvement for medication challenges in persons with ID.


  • Lee, Catherine
  • Ivo, Jessica
  • Carter, Caitlin
  • Faisal, Sadaf
  • Shao, Yi Wen
  • Patel, Tejal

publication date

  • February 2021