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Name of scholarship/program

Examining medication-taking in mental health



Important description
Promoting adherence to medication is concerned with ensuring that patients take their medication as directed by the doctor and a vast body of research has focussed on medicines-adherence and ways of promoting medicine-taking. However, a number of conditions also warrant legitimate breaks from medication sanctioned by doctors, including, in mental health, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and dementia itself. This means that the medication involved, be they methylphenidate, antipsychotics or acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, can be halted temporarily or permanently to assess, for example, continuing need or to reduce side-effects and other adverse effects. While adherence to medication is a well-researched subject, medication discontinuation has remained under-researched. There is some evidence that practitioners are reluctant to consider treatment discontinuation, even when warranted, for a multitude of factors, but which are not formally documented through research. Also, patients and their carers can have different views about whether or not medication should be discontinued which can impact on the decision made. These decisions can be influenced by inconsistent perceptions of risk by patients, carers and practitioners.

This project aims to further examine the decision-making processes and potential conflicts involved in the judgment to (dis)continue medication in patients with mental health disorders. First, an examination of the literature will be used to inform a review of decisions to discontinue. Then practitioners, patient and/or carers will be invited to interview and the main bulk of this work will be to use qualitative methodology to analyse interviews and to map the interplay of factors involved in such decisions. The ultimate aim is to produce a theory encapsulating the dynamics involved in decisions about medication discontinuation.


Eligibility and other criteria
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.


Application deadline
*09 June 2013


Additional information, and important URL
Start Date October 2013 Self Funded PhD

Undergraduate Degree in Pharmacy or related subject.


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