NHS stomping out the over use of medicine for people with a learning disability or autism

Psychotropic medicines affect how the brain works and include medicines for psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep problems and epilepsy. Sometimes they are also given to people because their behaviour is seen as challenging.

Stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both (STOMP) is a national project involving many different organisations which are helping to stop the over use of these medicines. The project is about helping people to stay well and have a good quality of life.

People with a learning disability and or autism, are more likely to be given these medicines than other people. Public Health England says that every day about 30,000 to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are taking psychotropic medicines unnecessarily. Children and young people are also prescribed them.

Psychotropic medicines can cause problems if people take them for too long, take too high a dose, or take them for the wrong reason. This can cause side effects such as putting on weight, feeling tired or ‘drugged up’ and serious problems with physical health.

NHS England wrote an easy read leaflet with the help from MiXit, a theatre company for people with and without a learning disability, and with help from other people and families, about the project and supporting people who take psychotropic medicine. NHS England also commissioned MiXit to write and perform the above play about STOMP which was a great success, and the video clip can be seen on their YouTube.