• The contribution of qualitative research in designing a complex intervention for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in two different healthcare systems.

      Corrrigan, Mairead; Cupples, Margaret E; Smith, Susan M; Byrne, Molly; Leathem, Claire S; Clerkin, Pauline; Murphy, Andrew W; Division of Medical Education, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. m.corrigan@qub.ac.uk (2006)
      BACKGROUND: Developing complex interventions for testing in randomised controlled trials is of increasing importance in healthcare planning. There is a need for careful design of interventions for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). It has been suggested that integrating qualitative research in the development of a complex intervention may contribute to optimising its design but there is limited evidence of this in practice. This study aims to examine the contribution of qualitative research in developing a complex intervention to improve the provision and uptake of secondary prevention of CHD within primary care in two different healthcare systems. METHODS: In four general practices, one rural and one urban, in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, patients with CHD were purposively selected. Four focus groups with patients (N = 23) and four with staff (N = 29) informed the development of the intervention by exploring how it could be tailored and integrated with current secondary prevention activities for CHD in the two healthcare settings. Following an exploratory trial the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention were discussed in four focus groups (17 patients) and 10 interviews (staff). The data were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Integrating qualitative research into the development of the intervention provided depth of information about the varying impact, between the two healthcare systems, of different funding and administrative arrangements, on their provision of secondary prevention and identified similar barriers of time constraints, training needs and poor patient motivation. The findings also highlighted the importance to patients of stress management, the need for which had been underestimated by the researchers. The qualitative evaluation provided depth of detail not found in evaluation questionnaires. It highlighted how the intervention needed to be more practical by minimising administration, integrating role plays into behaviour change training, providing more practical information about stress management and removing self-monitoring of lifestyle change. CONCLUSION: Qualitative research is integral to developing the design detail of a complex intervention and tailoring its components to address individuals' needs in different healthcare systems. The findings highlight how qualitative research may be a valuable component of the preparation for complex interventions and their evaluation.
    • Escitalopram--translating molecular properties into clinical benefit: reviewing the evidence in major depression.

      Leonard, Brian; Taylor, David; Department of Pharmacology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. (2010-08)
      The majority of currently marketed drugs contain a mixture of enantiomers; however, recent evidence suggests that individual enantiomers can have pharmacological properties that differ importantly from enantiomer mixtures. Escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of citalopram, displays markedly different pharmacological activity to the R-enantiomer. This review aims to evaluate whether these differences confer any significant clinical advantage for escitalopram over either citalopram or other frequently used antidepressants. Searches were conducted using PubMed and EMBASE (up to January 2009). Abstracts of the retrieved studies were reviewed independently by both authors for inclusion. Only those studies relating to depression or major depressive disorder were included. The search identified over 250 citations, of which 21 studies and 18 pooled or meta-analyses studies were deemed suitable for inclusion. These studies reveal that escitalopram has some efficacy advantage over citalopram and paroxetine, but no consistent advantage over other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Escitalopram has at least comparable efficacy to available serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, venlafaxine XR and duloxetine, and may offer some tolerability advantages over these agents. This review suggests that the mechanistic advantages of escitalopram over citalopram translate into clinical efficacy advantages. Escitalopram may have a favourable benefit-risk ratio compared with citalopram and possibly with several other antidepressant agents.