Prescription and non-prescription medications may be used to assist people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to experience a full and rewarding life. The prescribing of medications should be considered a serious matter and guided by principles that assure the safety of the individual and attainment of a desired state that will allow a full and valued life.
It is the Position of TheArc New York that:
- Medications may be considered only after any other non-pharmaceutical measures have been exhausted in the control or remediation of the target behavior or medical situation.
- Medication should not be assumed to be a permanent solution.
- Medications must be prescribed only by licensed, qualified medical professionals who are familiar with the individual.
- The person with intellectual and other developmental disabilities must be included in discussions and decisions regarding the use of pharmaceutical treatment for a manifest or an underlying psychiatric condition and/or medical situation.
- Before medication is started, the individual, if capable, and/or parent or individual legally authorized to give consent, must be consulted and give consent, as appropriate, and be clearly informed about any prescribed pharmaceutical treatment, expected positive results and possible side effects.
- Medication regimens and prescriptions must be reviewed on a regular basis. Continuation of such medication regimens and prescriptions is to be determined by the physician in consultation with the individual with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, and/or family, staff, and advocates.
- The person with intellectual and other developmental disabilities must be given every opportunity to receive training to qualify for “self-medication” status.
- In cases where the person with intellectual and other developmental disabilities does not qualify for “self-medication” status, every assurance must be made to provide proper oversight by a knowledgeable individual certified in medication use and distribution.