In June 2016 the Royal Pharmaceutical Society signed up to the STOMP pledge. The Stopping Over-Medication of People with a Learning Disability, Autism or Both (STOMP) pledge has been signed by the Royal Colleges of Nursing, Psychiatrists and GPs, as well as the RPS, the British Psychological Society and NHS England at a summit in London on 1 June 2016. It commits each to "work together, and with people with a learning disability and their loved ones, to take real and measurable steps to stop over-medication".
Multiple psychotropic drug use often starts at a specialist level, which is then passed onto primary care for long-term management. Published research has found that, in too many cases, these prescriptions are repeated without adequate review.
An estimated 35,000 adults with a learning disability are being prescribed an antipsychotic, an antidepressant or both without appropriate clinical justification. Long-term use of these drugs can lead to significant weight gain, organ failure and, in some cases, death. Pharmacists can play a significant role in ensuring that people with learning disabilities are only being prescribed the medicines that are appropriate for them and supporting them to ensure they get the best from these medicines.
People with learning disabilities are among the most vulnerable using the health service and deserve better health care.
"For far too long people with learning disabilities have received poor health care.
“This group of patients are frequently prescribed antidepressants, sedatives and mood stabilisers in order to manage episodes of ill-health or challenging behaviour, which are not subsequently reviewed. These medicines can cause serious side-effects, poor health and even premature death.
“This pledge should act as a trigger to all health professionals to ensure that over-medication becomes a thing of the past. People with learning disabilities deserve better. A person-centred review should take place regularly and ideally every time a medicine is changed.”
- Sandra Gidley, EPB Chair, June 2016