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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas L. Pazdernik, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: D. R. Laurence authored the first edition of Clinical Pharmacology in 1960. This 9th edition is the first one of which he is not an author or co-author, although he has written a short "farewell." The style of writing sets this book apart from other textbooks in clinical pharmacology, making reading more enjoyable. On the other hand, other books may provide more concise explanations when used as a reference. Although only two authors have written this edition, experts in the field have extensively reviewed each chapter. The book provides comprehensive coverage of clinical pharmacology. Since this is a British publication, the U.S. reader will find different drugs and spellings than they are used to.
Purpose: The long life of this book attests to its value. It is written with the idea that physicians prescribe drugs that are very different from those that they studied as students. The book is written to be understandable by the practitioner as well as the expert in pharmacology. The book is very enjoyable to read but yet addresses the important things that a physician needs to know to practice evidence-based medicine in the 21st century.
Audience: This book is primarily written for doctors who prescribe drugs, but this book would be excellent for the student in clinical training and should also be of great value to residents and both general and specialist practitioners. Since the drugs used in Great Britain are sometimes different than those used in the United States, the American reader will find discrepancies from accepted practice in the U.S.
Features: The first section of this book deals with general issues including discovery, testing, and regulation of drug use in humans. The second section of this book deals the general principles of pharmacology including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicity. The remaining sections of the book discuss the use of drugs broken down into the areas of infection and inflammation, nervous system, cardiorespiratory and renal systems, blood and neoplastic disease, gastrointestinal system, and endocrine system, metabolic conditions. Each chapter begins with a box that provides a concise synopsis. Within each chapter there are high-yield summary boxes, tables, figures and algorithms for the management of selected diseases.
Assessment: The British reader who is interested in clinical pharmacology has two excellent textbooks to choose from. I would recommend this one for those who want to read the entire chapter devoted to a topic, but for those who wish to use a book as a reference, the third edition of the Oxford Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Therapy by Grahame-Smith and Aronson (Oxford University Press, 2002), may be more useful. The U.S. reader may prefer the fourth edition of Melmon and Morrelli's Clinical Pharmacology by Carruthers et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2000) . For the reader interested in the basic principles of clinical pharmacology, Principles of Clinical Pharmacology by Atkinson et al. (Academic Press, 2001) is an excellent choice.