Medication and Prescription Considerations

Many individuals with Down syndrome acquire multiple doctors and specialists. While it is common for several doctors to be involved in prescribing medications for one individual, they may not be communicating with one another at all. It is important to be proactive with management of the medication list, making sure that both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, along with their doses and frequencies, are up to date.
As a general rule, it is advisable to start new medications at a low dose and slowly increase them if necessary. Be sure to understand why a medication is being recommended and inquire about side effects. Avoid making multiple medication changes at once or starting or adjusting two medications at the same time. Changing or adding one thing at a time allows for a clearer picture of the impact of the medication on its own. All medications, including over-the-counter and herbal medications, should be periodically reviewed, especially with the primary care doctor at times of transition (leaving the hospital, transferring to a new living situation, etc.).
During reviews of the medication list, it makes sense to re-examine the efficacy of each medication. Do the benefits of each medication outweigh the risks of negative side effects? Is there room to simplify, or is each medication necessary? It is also important to think about medications whenever a new mood, behavior or physical symptom arises.  Was a new prescription just started, a dose changed or a medication discontinued?
The purpose of this section is to review general principles to keep in mind with regard to medication. It is beyond the scope and purpose of this document to discuss specific medications or treatments. Please be sure to review any specific medication questions with your physician.