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Date:12/3/2008

The widespread problem of children failing to take their medication for a range of life-threatening illnesses is to be tackled as part of a new university research project.

The 21-month study involving health specialists at The University of Nottingham and The University of Leicester will draw on the experiences of school children with asthma, diabetes, congenital heart disease and epilepsy to learn about the barriers that prevent them from taking medicines prescribed for them.

Funded with 328,247 from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Service Delivery and Organisation Programme, the study will also devise a new strategy which will allow healthcare professionals to work more closely with children and their parents to overcome problems with sticking to their medication.

A whole host of different factors can influence children, particularly adolescents, in when and how they take their medication. This can range from peer pressure, for example not wanting to be seen as different by using their asthma inhaler in front of their friends, to a fear that the medication may have an unwanted side effect, which has been a particular problem in girls with diabetes who worry that their insulin will cause them to gain weight.

In addition to this, there may be other barriers such as learning difficulties or reluctant parents who worry about the long-term effect that drugs are having on their child's health.

Problems can also arise from the healthcare system too. Often if a medicine is not licensed for children and needs to be specially produced in a different dosage or liquid form for ease of use there can be problems with establishing a regular supply. When visiting a GP, the doctor will often talk to the parent rather than the child, sometimes causing a breakdown in communication or preventing the child from raising any concerns they might have.

Professor Rachel Elliott, Lord Trent Professor of Medicines
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Contact: Dr. Monica Lakhanpaul
ml103@leicester.ac.uk
44-011-622-53847
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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