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What stops practitioners discussing medication breaks in children and adolescents with ADHD? Identifying barriers through theory-driven qualitative research

Ibrahim, K. and Donyai, P. (2018) What stops practitioners discussing medication breaks in children and adolescents with ADHD? Identifying barriers through theory-driven qualitative research. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 10 (4). pp. 273-283. ISSN 1866-6647

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12402-018-0258-9

Abstract/Summary

National and international guidelines on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents call for annual reviews to assess continuing need for medication by considering brief periods without medication, referred to as 'Drug holidays'. However, drug holidays are reactively initiated by families, or recommended by practitioners if growth has been suppressed by medication rather than proactively to check the need. There is little evidence of planned, practitioner-initiated drug holidays from methylphenidate. The aim of this study was to identify what stops practitioners from routinely discussing planned drug holidays from methylphenidate with children, adolescents, and their parents. Practitioners involved in shared-care prescribing for children and adolescents with ADHD in one UK County were included. Interviews with 8 general practitioners (GPs) and 8 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) practitioners were conducted. Transcripts were analysed qualitatively against the components of the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model. Possible interventions for increasing prescribers' engagement with planned drug holidays were considered in response. Multiple barriers to practitioner engagement in planned drug holidays from methylphenidate were identified. Capability, in terms of knowledge and skills, was not a barrier identified for CAMHS practitioners but was for GPs. Opportunity was a main barrier for both groups, who reported lack of time and the absence of educational material about drug holidays. Motivation was more complex to define, with CAMHS practitioners questioning the need for drug holidays and GPs being more accepting due to worries about long-term medication side effects as well as cost savings. 'Education' and 'enablement' interventions were identified as key activities targeting all three components, which could feasibly increase uptake of practitioner-initiated planned drug holidays from methylphenidate. The application of the COM-B system identified a number of key barriers to practitioner engagement with drug holidays in children and adolescents with ADHD. Accordingly, a number of interventions could be developed to facilitate change. For example, educating and training GPs about ADHD management and drug holidays, and developing a decision aid to help families make informed decisions about whether or not to implement drug holidays could be used.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmacy Practice Research Group
ID Code:78058
Publisher:Springer

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