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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gregory Reed, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This is primarily an introductory book on kinetics and actions of drugs for pharmacy and medical students. It also may serve as a refresher and self-study guide for other basic science and clinical practitioners needing an appreciation of these topics.
Purpose: The author's goal is to provide a conceptual and mathematical framework for understanding pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. She makes the case that this can only be accomplished by "understanding, not memorizing" the material. This is indeed the case, and the presentation and development of concepts in this book should enable students to develop that understanding of these fundamental concepts and their applications.
Audience: This should be a very successful book for pharmacy and medical students beginning their study of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. I would expand that audience to include graduate and postdoctoral students in basic biomedical sciences. It also can be used as a reasonable study guide for occasional practitioners in need of a self-directed refresher.
Features: Concepts are initially introduced in quite simplified terms, and then developed through the addition of relevant features. Where appropriate, this development includes quantitative mathematical treatments and graphical representations. The inclusion of math and graphical presentations supports the development of understanding, as opposed to mere memorization. It is notable that the mathematical derivations and developments are truly step by step - unlike some treatments of this type that combine multiple steps in the transition from one equation to another, greatly complicating the process for novices. This same, thorough approach is used to work through examples in the book. The tables and figures effectively support the text. Most chapters also include a number of sample problems to allow readers to apply the principles. The book includes access to online computer simulations to illustrate many of these points. There are several appendixes, including one presenting a review of exponents and logarithms, and another a review of rate equations. Although I would like to say these topics are prerequisites with which students should already be familiar, this is not the case. Including these resources will be very helpful to many students. I have but two criticisms. Occasionally, the presentation of topics is oversimplified — case in point would be the figure and discussion for oral absorption, which includes hepatic clearance from metabolism, but not from biliary secretion of parent drug. Also, the computer simulations do not add much beyond what is quite clearly presented in the text.
Assessment: In short, this is a thorough and well-designed presentation and development of key concepts in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. It is a very useful textbook, and one that I would be comfortable using in both medical and graduate teaching.