Latest news and events in the School of Pharmacy Latest news and events in the School of Pharmacy


Identifying barriers to medical adherence – reviewing the IMAB-Q

A team of researchers led by Dr Debi Bhattacharya have successfully developed and validated a 10 item questionnaire called the IMAB-Q.  The IMAB-Q is able to both identify patients not taking their medicines as prescribed and determine what the individual patient's barriers are to taking their prescribed medicines.

Between a third and a half of patients prescribed medication for long term conditions do not take them as prescribed and currently there is no effective tool for determining patient barriers to adherence in order to provide them with guidance and support. Dr Debi Bhattacharya and her team at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with other organisations and with funding from PRUK, have developed and tested the Identification of Medication Adherence Barriers Questionnaire (IMAB-Q) to identify patient barriers to adherence to routine care.

The IMAB-Q was tested by pharmacists in nine pharmacies as part of Medicine Use Reviews (MURs) to explore feasibility of using this questionnaire in practice.  The pharmacists thought that IMAB-Q was useful for identifying adherence barriers and particularly for raising topics that are not routinely discussed; the most common barriers for adherence were emotions and beliefs about consequences which are topics not routinely discussed in MURs.

Lead Researcher, Dr Bhattacharya said, “The IMAB-Q has shown to be very useful tool for pharmacists to identify patients who are experiencing difficulties with taking their medication as prescribed and indicates what guidance and support should be offered. We intend for the IMAB-Q to be used as a standard tool to guide and improve MURs and other adherence related consultations”.

The researchers intend to undertake further study to explore whether a brief community pharmacist-led consultation supported by the IMAB-Q is more effective than the MUR for identifying and resolving barriers to medication adhere and thus improving health outcomes.

Dr Debi Bhattacharya

For more information please contact PRUK at