Understanding your medication

Welcome to our section on medicines and medication. The focus of this section is on medicines for mental health problems, but the information and links will hopefully be useful more widely.  

Click on one of the buttons below to learn more.

Advice for pharmacists on supporting adults with learning disabilities

What is the issue?

The Disability Partnership’s Pharmacy Project reported in 2016 that many pharmacies are providing a reasonably good service. However, there still remain issues with communication. Not all pharmacists are explaining why or how to take the prescribed medication.

What is the risk?

The Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD 2013) looked into the deaths of 247 people. It identified a number of frequently reported problems with medication, including:

  • the person not taking or not being given prescribed medicines, or not being given the correct dose
  • medicine being prescribed in a form the person could not take (due to swallowing difficulties) and family carers or staff devising unsafe solutions
  • lack of monitoring for side-effects or unreliable monitoring.
What advice is available?

Making reasonable adjustments

Read Public Health England's report, 'Pharmacy and people with learning disabilities: making reasonable adjustments to services'.

Choice and Medication

View Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's medication resources by visiting our Choice and Medication site.


Visit the website of the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) for an accredited learning programme on learning disabilities.


Watch our videos on stopping over-medicating people with a learning disability, autism or both - STOMP. Find them on YouTube.

How can I learn more about the medicine I am taking for my mental health?

The Choice and Medication website contains lots of information. It is independently produced under the guidance of specialist mental health pharmacists.

How can I find out if a particular medicine is available in Derbyshire?

The Derbyshire Medicines Management website provides information about which medicines are and are not approved for use across the county. It also explains if any restrictions have been placed on how they are prescribed, using a 'traffic light' system.

How can I learn more about the treatments available for a particular mental health condition?

National guidelines are produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and these are available on their website.

We also recommend the Choice and Medication website. This contains information independently produced under the guidance of specilaist mental health pharmacists and its 'handy charts' provide a useful summary of the medicines that might be used for any particular mental health condition.

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