New Questions About Meds Used For Intellectual Disability

Posted: September 2, 2015 by AMCPress And Co in advocacy, Disability Advocates, Disability Awareness, Disability Issues, Disability News
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New research has have suggested that many drugs have been overprescribed to people who have  intellectual disabilities despite evidence that they provide any benefit for people who are being prescribed. An analysis of medical records for more than 33,000 adults which have intellectual disabilities in the United Kingdom between 1999 and 2013 which found that one in four were prescribed antipsychotic medication.

Often, when the drugs were only used to correct behavior problems such as aggression and self-injury, according to findings that were published on Tuesday in The BMJ.

The trend is troubling which a researcher said. 71 percent of those with intellectual disabilities who have been prescribed antipsychotics had no record of severe mental illness which the drugs are meant to treat.

“Research evidence does not support using antipsychotics to manage behavior problems in people with intellectual disabilities,” said Rory Sheehan of University College London, who led the study. “Many people with intellectual disability and behavior disturbance have complex needs and other interventions, such as looking at the support people receive and their communication needs, should be prioritized. Antipsychotics, or indeed any medications, should not be prescribed lightly and are no substitute for comprehensive care.”

The study participants, antipsychotics were more common in those who were older and also individuals with intellectual disability and have had been diagnosed with autism or dementia.

The beyond questions about how efficacy, inappropriately giving people antipsychotics puts those at risk for side effects such as  drowsiness and weight gain, which can lead to other long-term health consequences such as diabetes, Sheehan said.

The researchers have also noted that use of antipsychotics declined gradually over the 15 years studied. The study also  suggested  that doctors may have been adjusting their methods of treating intellectual disabilities. I am glad that doctors who are treating people with intellectual disabilities are being treated with new methods.

The study has also found that medications for anxiety and depression have been frequently prescribed to people with intellectual disabilities.

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