Investigating the barriers and facilitators to the prescribing and use of medicines in managing neuropathic pain- PhD study



To identify those factors that inform and influence prescribing of medications used in the management of neuropathic pain.


This PhD will use a mixed-methods approach; the candidate may be required to undertake a quantitative data analysis, a systematic review, interviews or focus groups to answer the research question. The project would suit a candidate with a health, social science or psychology background and with an interest in pain research.


Neuropathic pain is estimated to affect 8% of the UK adult population. A variety of oral and topical medicines may be used alone or in combination including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids and local anaesthetics. However, these agents may produce undesirable adverse outcomes for patients while a subset such as opioids, pregabalin and gabapentin may be associated with misuse. This range of undesirable outcomes may be more pronounced in certain vulnerable populations such as older patients or those with a history of substance misuse.

Epidemiological studies indicate that practices in the prescribing of neuropathic agents may be suboptimal and not in-line with clinical guidance resulting in inadequate or delayed pain control for patients (5, 6). A recent Public Health England advisory document highlighted significant disparities in the prescribing of such agents between the North and South of England, with three times greater volume of prescriptions observed in the North of the country, the difference not entirely accounted for by social and demographic factors.


Mary-Claire Kennedy

Gretl McHugh

Theo Raynor

Funding body: School of Healthcare (Enhanced Scholarship Fund)

Contact: Comfort Mshelia