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Internal News - 08 October 2008

Pharmacy & Pharmacology awarded £80,000 grant to study schizophrenia drug

Dr Jane Sutton and Denise Taylor from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology have been awarded a grant of £80,000 from the Pharmacy Practice Research Trust, on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain for a study addressing treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS).

It is the first time the trust has awarded such a large grant to research in mental health and it will be used to investigate different models of care for providing the antipsycotic drug clozapine.

Clozapine can improve the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and increase social integration amongst people with TRS, but also has some potentially dangerous side-effects that require careful management.

Pharmacists are increasingly becoming involved in the delivery of clozapine services, but there is a lack of evidence about the most cost-effective organisation model to inform these developments.

This research will compare patient outcomes and cost when different teams of professionals, including hospital or community pharmacists, nurses, hospital doctors or psychiatrists, are involved in delivering care by studying five different clozapine services for people with TRS in a large NHS trust in Wales.

Denise Taylor said: “Recent Department of Health reports have suggested a greater role for pharmacists in the delivery of health care. Our research, which addresses a chronic mental health problem, will inform decision makers for mental health services and enable them to determine the impact of pharmacists working within different models of clozapine services”.

What makes this study even more interesting is that it is being funded through a multiprofessional grant award and the research team includes an Organisational Psychologist, Dr Jane Sutton who has worked in Pharmacy Practice at the University for four years. She said: “This is an exciting and innovative study which fits neatly into the University’s research strategy to promote multidisciplinary working and to conduct research which has ‘real life’ outcomes”.

Also on the research team are Dr Heather Gage – a Health Economist from the University of Surrey and Professor David Taylor – Chief Pharmacist at South London and The Maudsley Foundation NHS Trust.

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