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Drug use research

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7102p969
June 24, 2000 Reviews


Drug use research

'Handbook of drug use research methodology', by Hugh McGavock. Pp 319. Price £15. Newcastle upon Tyne: United Kingdom Drug Utilisation Research Group, 2000. ISBN 0 9537011 07.

This book has been published to mark the first 10 years of the existence of the United Kingdom Drug Utilisation Research Group. The 21 chapters are written by researchers and practitioners primarily based in Europe, with two contributors from Australia. This represents a compilation of experience, rather than a comprehensive textbook for researchers looking to start work in this field of research.
Not all chapters discuss research methodology; some describe systems which have been developed to influence prescribing (for example, academic drug detailing in Australia) or monitor prescribing (for example, PACT data and the COMPASS system in England and Northern Ireland, respectively).
The different styles of the various contributors have resulted in considerable variability in the level of methodological detail described and in the quality of the referencing. The chapter on "Investigating the sociological aspects of medicine taking" provides a very good overview of current research techniques and their associated problems, together with a useful reference list which points the reader to good quality published research and appropriate texts in which to study the methods in more detail. In contrast, the chapter on "Study design and use of statistics in drug usage research" tries to cover a wide range of quantitative methods and study designs, resulting in a rather superficial chapter with no reference list.
The book is the first edition. Future editions could be used to correct typographical errors and to give clearer and more consistent briefs to the expert contributors.
The book has the potential to to become a very helpful introduction to the methods used in this very complex but important area of research.

Reviewer - Judith Cantrill is clinical senior lecturer at the school of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, University of Manchester.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20001998

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