International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 566–578 | Cite as

Pharmacists’ medicines-related interventions for people with intellectual disabilities: a narrative review

  • Máire O’DwyerEmail author
  • Arijana Meštrović
  • Martin Henman
Review Article


BackgroundPeople with intellectual disabilities (ID) have complex pharmaceutical care needs due to a high prevalence of multimorbidity, a notable degree of polypharmacy and a high risk of adverse drug reactions. Despite this, people with ID often experience significant health disparities compared to the general population. In most developed countries, increasing emphasis on deinstitutionalisation and community integration also means greater utilisation of primary health care services where general practitioners, pharmacists and carers may lack appropriate information about the pharmaceutical needs of this population. Aim of the review To explore what type of pharmaceutical care interventions were being undertaken for people with ID and how pharmacists’ contributed to the care of people with ID as part of multidisciplinary teams. Method Systematic searches of the following electronic databases were carried out; CINAHL, Pubmed, Medline, Embase, Cochrane library, Science Direct and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts. Results were limited to the period 1994–2014 using search terms ‘learning disabilities’, ‘intellectual disabilities’, ‘mental retardation’, ‘developmental disabilities’, ‘learning difficulties’ and ‘pharmacist intervention’, ‘pharmaceutical care’, ‘primary care', ‘pharmacy' “pharmacists” “pharmacy technicians”. Agreement on studies to be included was arrived at by consensus and by using a pre-determined set of inclusion criteria. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the study aims, methods and presentation of study outcomes found, a narrative review was considered appropriate. Results In total, after removal of duplicates, 70 abstracts were identified and screened from the initial search. After screening and consensus agreement, eight articles which met the inclusion criteria were included in the review and were analysed under the following three themes; pharmacist interventions, pharmacists collaboration in provision of care, qualitative studies relating to patient, carers, and pharmacist views on care of people with ID. Conclusions The limited evidence available in the literature suggests that pharmacists can make positive interventions in relation to the quality of the medication use process, in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, carers and patients with ID. However, further research will be required to increase the evidence base with regard to the benefits of providing pharmaceutical care to patients with intellectual disability and to inform future policy and planning.


Pharmaceutical care Intellectual disability Pharmacist Pharmacist interventions Clinical pharmacy 



MO’D would like to acknowledge funding received from a Trinity College Dublin Studentship.

Conflicts of interest




Supplementary material

11096_2015_113_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (311 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 311 kb)


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Máire O’Dwyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arijana Meštrović
    • 2
  • Martin Henman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Study of PharmacyUniversity of Split School of MedicineSplitCroatia

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