Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which, in the five integrated community teams for adults with learning disabilities (CTLDs) in an English county-wide service, the use of psychotropic medication for service users was based on the presence of an appropriate mental health condition or epilepsy. Design/methodology/approach - Adult participants were recruited following referral to one of the CTLDs for assessment, treatment and/or support of a possible mental health and/or behavioural need. Data were collected about participant characteristics and psychotropic medication 12 months after recruitment. Findings - While a total of 42 (78 per cent) of the 54 participants were apparently prescribed regular or PRN (as required) psychotropic medication, only 24 (57 per cent) of these individuals had a recorded past or current mental health condition or epilepsy for which such medicine could be appropriate. Research limitations/implications - There were several limitations: the sample size was small and its representativeness was uncertain; and data collection was compromised by barriers to explicit knowledge exchange within and across the learning disability service. Practical implications - While recent guidance about the use of psychotropic medication is welcome, minimising inappropriate use requires more comprehensive person-centred interventions (including crisis management plans), underpinned by imaginative, but feasible, data collection methods and integrated formulations. Investment is needed in developments that support multi-disciplinary and inter-agency working to promote “good practice” by CTLDs in responding to referrals for possible mental health and/or behavioural needs. Originality/value - Complementing recent large studies of primary care (General Practitioner) records, this is the first examination of the use of psychotropic medication by service users in English CTLDs.

Original publication




Journal article


Tizard Learning Disability Review

Publication Date





12 - 21