Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

NHS England launches survey on psychotropic medication

NHS England has launched a survey asking people with a learning disability, autistic people, and families and carers about their experiences with psychotropic medication.

Psychotropic medication is any medication that affects the mind, such as medication used to treat psychosis, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, ADHD and epilepsy.

Psychotropic medication can be wrongly prescribed to manage ‘challenging behaviour’

Healthcare professionals may prescribe these medications to people with a learning disability and autistic people even if they do not have a diagnosed mental health condition.

This is usually to manage ‘challenging behaviour’ (such as tantrums, hitting or kicking other people, throwing things or self-harming).

However, if this medication is not prescribed for the right reasons, it can have side effects such as muscle spasms, metabolism changes and major weight gain. This is called inappropriate medication.

Healthcare professionals therefore should regularly review their patient’s medications and ween patients off if they are experiencing adverse effects.

Survey open until February 2024

The STOMP and STAMP team, Learning Disability England and Challenging Behaviour Foundation want to stop inappropriate medication prescriptions, and they hope the survey will help them to change and improve healthcare services for autistic people and people with learning disabilities.

The survey will not ask any personal information such as name and address, and participants do not have to answer any questions they do not want to.

People with learning disabilities and autistic people can ask family members or trusted friends to help if needed.

The survey is open until 26th Feb 2024 and can be found here.

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