Medicines and Prescribing research

The Medicines and Prescribing research group at the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is a small but rapidly expanding multidisciplinary team of researchers. We have broad interests covering a range of topics related to the rational and safe use of medicines in primary care. 

Areas of interest include:

  • polypharmacy
  • deprescribing
  • medicines optimisation
  • pharmacoepidemiology.

Given the breadth of the subject, we have links to other CAPC research groups, such as those working on mental health and multimorbidity.

We also have active collaborations with researchers at the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford and Dundee, and support the provision of undergraduate teaching on pharmacology and therapeutics at Bristol Medical School.

Medicines and prescribing facts

Medications are the main therapeutic intervention offered by clinicians to improve health, with most prescribing occurring in primary care.

Over 1 billion items are dispensed annually in primary care in England alone, and prescribing accounts for the biggest proportion of non-staff expenditure by the NHS. 

Over half of patients in their 70s are on at least four regular medications.

The team

Current projects

  • Developing a measure of inappropriate polypharmacy in primary care. Payne RA, Hay A, Morris R, MacLeod J, Avery A, Rodgers S, Burt J, Campbell S. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2016-2018)
  • Impact of hospital admission upon patterns of primary care prescribing. Payne RA, Purdy S, Morris R. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2016-2018)
  • The effectiveness of CVD preventative treatment in a multi-morbid population. Denholm R, Macleod J, Payne RA, Morris R, Davies N. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2017-2019)
  • What is the role of genetics in primary care? Payne R. Funder: NIHR Evidence Synthesis Working Group. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2017-2020)
  • Patient experiences and perceptions of medication review in general practice. McCahon D, Horwood J, Payne RA, Duncan P. Funder: RCGP SFB (2018-2019)
  • Using national administrative data to evaluate new models of primary care prescribing. Payne RA, Denholm R, McCahon D, Kontopantelis E, Rodgers S. Funder: NIHR School of Primary Care Research (2018-2019)
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