STOMP stands for stopping the overmedication of people with a learning disability, autism or both. Specifically, the campaign is about the use of psychotropic medication. People with a learning disability, autism or both are more likely to be given psychotropic medications than other people. These medications affect how the brain works. They include medications for psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep problems or epilepsy. Sometimes they are given to people because their behaviour is seen as challenging. The evidence that psychotropic medication can help with challenging behaviour is poor.
Psychotropic medication can cause side effects such as:
- significant weight gain
- feeling tired or ‘drugged up’
- severe constipation or bowel obstruction
- serious problems with physical health, including organ failure.
Research by the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR Programme) and others has shown that the inappropriate use of psychotropic medications can be a significant contributory factor, or the cause, of a person’s death. Use of psychotropic medication can be especially concerning if people take them for too long, take too high a dose or take them without good reason. Psychotropic medications are helpful for some people at some times. For many other people and in many circumstances, there are different ways of helping so that the person needs less medication or none at all.
The resources below have been provided by the NHS England STOMP team to raise awareness and provide support to local areas:
Specialist Pharmacist Adviser, Medicines Diagnostics and Personlised Medicines Policy Unit, NHS England