Stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both (STOMP)

Last updated Friday 1st July 2022

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

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.

People with a learning disability, autism or both are more likely to be given these medicines than other people.

These medicines are right for some people. They can help people stay safe and well. Sometimes there are other ways of helping people so they need less medicine or none at all.

It is not safe to change the dose of these medicines or stop taking them without help from a doctor.

Public Health England says that every day about 30,000 to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are taking psychotropic medicines, when they do not have the health conditions the medicines are for. Children and young people are also prescribed them.

Psychotropic medicines can cause problems if people take them for too long. Or take too high a dose. Or take them for the wrong reason. This can cause side effects like:

  • putting on weight
  • feeling tired or ‘drugged up’
  • serious problems with physical health.

We worked with MiXit theatre group, people with a learning disability and families and carers to write an easy read leaflet about the project. This is available in different languages, including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Polish, Romanian and Somali.

We commissioned MiXit to do a new play about STOMP which is a great success everywhere it goes. They also made a short video about it.

NHS England also commissioned the Challenging Behaviour Foundation to produce some new resources for families.

One of the resources is a new online medication pathway for family carers. The other is a printed version of this. The pathway covers topics such as:

  • What you need to find out before your relative starts taking medication
  • What the alternatives are to medication
  • How medication should be monitored
  • What to do if you have concerns about your relative’s medication.

The printed medication information pack can be ordered from the CBF.