January 29, 2020
Dr. Steven Erickson

Recently published in the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), “Adverse Medication Events Related to Hospitalization in the United States: A Comparison Between Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Those Without” details the obstacles that Americans with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) face as it pertains to receiving and administering medication properly. Dr. Steven Erickson, PharmD, is an associate professor in the department of clinical pharmacy and author of this paper alongside Dr. Chung-Hsuen Wu, PhD, an alumni of the UM College of Pharmacy Social and Administrative Sciences graduate program.  The study finds that patients with an IDD are more likely to experience hospitalization as a result of adverse medication events than those without an IDD. Contributing factors to this disparity may include improper diagnosis due to communication barriers, complexity of treatments, and the number of medications prescribed.

An IDD can include a broad range of disabilities including, but not limited to, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. “It is estimated that 2-3% of the population has been diagnosed with an IDD and the seemingly small percentage can be a reason why their issues often go unnoticed”, explains Dr. Erickson, “However, 2-3% translates to millions of Americans.”

The immediate takeaway from this research is that prescribers, pharmacists, and caregivers need to be specifically trained to care for patients with an IDD as they are at a higher risk. Dr. Erickson believes that this paper will serve as the framework for what will be a more in-depth investigation into the adverse effects of polypharmacy and treatment of patients with an IDD.

Read the full paper: https://aaiddjournals.org/doi/full/10.1352/1944-7558-125.1.37