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Debi Bhattacharya

Professor of Behavioural Medicine | School of Pharmacy

Norwich, UNITED KINGDOM

She is an expert in medication adherence and in deprescribing (providing alternatives to medication).

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Biography

Debi Bhattacharya is Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy in the School of Pharmacy at UEA. She is an expert in medication adherence and in deprescribing (providing alternatives to medication). She explores why (mainly elderly) patients don’t take their prescribed medicines and what can be done to ensure sustained medication regimes. Most recently she has looked at how to reduce “pill organisers” (which are seen as ineffective). As a consequence, she has devised a new tailored self-assessment method (called MASDA – Medication Adherence Support Decision Aid) with proposals to create an app that will be more precision in steering better advice and assistance for take-up of medications.

As well as older people, Debi has been working on medication use within other communities – such as those with sight problems, younger age groups (who face particular issues such as high or low blood pressure), post-treatment cancer patients, people with diabetes, and those suffering with mental health challenges. Her work on deprescribing has led to an opioid deprescribing online tool for use by clinicians, which has secured global demand. Debi also practices as a locum community and primary care pharmacist and she is the chair for the East Anglia Local Practice Forum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Areas of Expertise

Pill OrganisersMedication Adherence Support Decision AidPharmacyMedicationHIV Medication

Education

University of Bradford

Ph.D., Medication Adherence

2002

University of Bradford

B.Pharm., Pharmacy

1999

Media Appearances

Patients from BAME communities are underrepresented in HIV research

News Medical Life Sciences  online

2020-08-27

"It’s really important that people with HIV start taking medication as soon as possible and continue taking it as prescribed for life. While medication can’t cure HIV, taking it correctly helps people live longer, healthier lives. Medication can also reduce the risk of HIV transmission."

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Pill Sorters Are Dangerous for Some Patients — Learn When and When Not to Recommend Them

Florence Health  online

2019-08-19

How’s this possible? According to Debi Bhattacharya, PhD, from University of East Anglia’s School of Pharmacy, when patients only take their medication sporadically, their provider might increase the dose to help them achieve the desired results. But pill sorters help with adherence and can cause patients to take too much of their medicine, even though it’s technically the prescribed amount.

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Pill organisers not for everyone, new guidance warns

ITV News  online

2019-08-08

Lead researcher Dr Debi Bhattacharya, from UEA’s School of Pharmacy, said: “A lot of people use pill organisers to help them take the right medication at the right time of the day. “The fact that using a pill organiser could cause harm to patients sounds rather counter-intuitive.

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New tool developed to support decision-making on multicompartment compliance aids

The Pharmaceutical Journal  online

2019-08-08

Debi Bhattacharya, a senior lecturer in health services research at UEA’s School of Pharmacy and lead researcher on the study, said the research found that patients were more likely to become unwell when they switched to using an MCA, which she suggested was because of increased side effects resulting from patients moving from potentially sporadic adherence to taking all their prescribed medicines.

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GPs get training to wean addicts off painkillers

The Times  online

2019-05-19

Doctors have already been told to “sit on their hands” and stop giving the powerful drugs to people with chronic pain after an investigation by The Sunday Times exposed rising addiction rates, overdoses and deaths as prescriptions rocketed over the past decade. That call came from Dr Cathy Stannard, a world authority on pain.

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Articles

Barriers and facilitators to reducing anticholinergic burden: a qualitative systematic review

International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

2021

Background
Despite common use, anticholinergic medications have been associated with serious health risks. Interventions to reduce their use are being developed and there is a need to understand their implementation into clinical care. Aim of review This systematic review aims to identify and analyse qualitative research studies exploring the barriers and facilitators to reducing anticholinergic burden.

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Barriers and facilitators to pharmacists integrating into the ward-based multidisciplinary team: A systematic review and meta-synthesis

Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy

2021

Background
Pharmacists who are integrated into the ward team are involved in initial decision making, therefore pre-empting pharmaceutical problems and optimising therapy from the outset. Identifying the barriers and facilitators (determinants) to successful pharmacist integration within a multidisciplinary ward team will facilitate design of strategies to support integration.

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Do interventions to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy recognise diversity? A systematic review

AIDS Care

2021

People living with HIV (PLWH) are often culturally and linguistically diverse populations; these differences are associated with differing barriers to antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. Cultural competence measures the extent to which trial design recognises this diversity. This systematic review aimed to determine whether adherence trial participants represent the diversity of PLWH.

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Anticholinergic burden in older adult inpatients: patterns from admission to discharge and associations with hospital outcomes

Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety

2021

Background:
Anticholinergic medications are associated with adverse outcomes in older adults and should be prescribed cautiously. We describe the Anticholinergic Risk Scale (ARS) scores of older inpatients and associations with outcomes.

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Mapping Modifiable Determinants of Medication Adherence in Bipolar Disorder (BD) to the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF): A Systematic Review

SSRN

2021

Around 40% of patients with bipolar disorder (BD) are non-adherent to prescribed medication leading to relapse, hospitalisation and increased risk of suicide. Lack of progress in addressing medication non-adherence may be partly attributable to the limited understanding of the modifiable determinants of adherence that should be targeted by interventions.

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