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

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.

There is an easy read leaflet about the project and supporting people who take psychotropic medicine. NHS England wrote it with MiXit, a theatre company for people with and without a learning disability, and with help from other people and families. NHS England 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.

STOMP partner VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) was commissioned to produce a social care pledge that has been signed by more than 150 providers. Between them, they support more than 50,000 people with a learning disability, autism or both. VODG has produced other useful resources too, such as a booklet about supporting people when they visit the doctor, which includes an easy read section for the person.

In April 2018 NHS England and partners are launching a STOMP pledge for health care providers.

The aims of STOMP are to:

  • encourage people to have regular check-ups about their medicines
  • make sure doctors and other health professionals involve people, families and support staff in decisions about medicines
  • inform everyone about non-drug therapies and practical ways of supporting people so they are less likely to need as much medicine, if any.

Who is involved in STOMP?

STOMP was launched in 2016 by:

  • NHS England
  • The Royal College of Nursing
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • The Royal College of GPs
  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • The British Psychological Society.

These organisations pledged to work together to stop the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both.

Since then, the number of official STOMP partners has grown to include:

  • VODG
  • British Association of Social Workers
  • Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
  • The Learning Disability Professional Senate (NHS England, Care Quality Commission, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Department of Health and Health Education England
  • British Association of Music Therapy
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • British Dietetics Association
  • British Association of Art Therapy
  • British Association of Dance Therapy, British Association of Drama Therapy and British Association of Art Therapy.

The children and young people’s team in the learning disability programme is working with the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health, and the British Academy of Childhood Disability, to deliver the STOMP message for children and young people.

There are links to resources for GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses and social care providers on the professional resources page.


  • Your medicine might be right for you – you might need to take it to stay well.
  • Don’t stop taking your medicine or change it without medical advice – this could be dangerous.
  • To check if your medicine is right for you, speak to the person who prescribes your medicines, and ask for a medication review, which is a kind of check-up.  You could ask your GP, psychiatrist, specialist doctor, pharmacist or nurse prescriber.

Case studies

To find out more about how STOMP is making a difference to people’s lives read our case studies and blogs.