Down Syndrome Medication

Updated: Apr 21, 2022
  • Author: Gratias Tom Mundakel, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Drug therapy is not currently a component of the standard of care for Down syndrome. Medications are indicated only for symptomatic treatment of pain. Obviously, prolonged use of analgesics without diagnostic evaluation and an understanding of the underlying cause should not be encouraged. No particular analgesic is superior.

Diuretics and digoxin should be used to manage congestive heart failure secondary to congenital heart defect.


Analgesics, Other

Class Summary

Pain control is essential to quality patient care. It ensures patient comfort and promotes pulmonary toilet, and analgesics have sedating properties that are beneficial for patients who have sustained trauma or injuries.

Acetaminophen and codeine (Tylenol #3, Capital and Codeine)

Codeine is a centrally acting analgesic; acetaminophen is a peripherally acting analgesic. The combination is indicated for treatment of mild to moderately severe pain. Tablets contain acetaminophen 300 mg and codeine phosphate 30 mg; elixir contains acetaminophen 120 mg and codeine 12 mg per 5 mL.

Morphine sulfate (Duramorph, Astramorph, MS Contin, Oramorph SR)

Morphine is a narcotic drug that interferes with opioid receptors; it mainly acts on the central nervous system (CNS) and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Caldolor)

Ibuprofen is a member of the propionic acid group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activity. Its mode of action is not clear but might be related to prostaglandin synthetase inhibition.

Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan)

Naproxen is an NSAID of the arylacetic acid group. It inhibits prostaglandin synthesis.


Antidysrhythmics, Ia

Class Summary

Antidysrhythmics may improve morbidity in patients with congestive heart failure secondary to congenital heart defect.

Digoxin (Lanoxin)

Digoxin is a cardiac glycoside with direct inotropic effects in addition to indirect effects on the cardiovascular system. It acts directly on cardiac muscle, increasing myocardial systolic contractions. Indirect actions result in increased carotid sinus nerve activity and enhanced sympathetic withdrawal for any given increase in mean arterial pressure.


Diuretics, Other

Class Summary

Diuretics should be used to manage congestive heart failure secondary to congenital heart defects.

Furosemide (Lasix)

Furosemide increases excretion of water by interfering with the chloride-binding cotransport system, which, in turn, inhibits sodium and chloride reabsorption in the ascending loop of Henle and distal renal tubule. The bioavailability of oral furosemide is 50%. If a switch is made from intravenous to oral administration, an equivalent oral dose should be used. Doses vary depending on the patient's clinical condition.

Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)

Hydrochlorothiazide inhibits reabsorption of sodium in distal tubules, causing increased excretion of sodium and water as well as potassium and hydrogen ions.

Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)

Metolazone is a quinazoline diuretic with properties similar to those of thiazide diuretics. It inhibits sodium resorption at the cortical diluting site and the proximal convoluted tubule.