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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert Hung, MD, MPH (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is the second edition of a pocket handbook of all major drug classes used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. It expounds on the clinical uses, side effects, mechanisms of action, and drug interactions of the most commonly used psychotropic medications. The first edition was written in 2002.
Purpose: The purpose is to present evidence-based clinical information on psychopharmacology in an easily accessible format that balances brevity with depth of understanding.
Audience: The handbook was written for a broad audience of "psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, and medical students." Given the design, the handbook fits in a lab coat and contains tables, figures, and charts for immediate retrieval of relevant information. This makes it especially useful to medical students and psychiatric residents on call.
Features: It provides a brief overview of the pharmacokinetics that mediate drug-drug interactions. Each major class of psychotropic medications is reviewed with a focus on clinical efficacy, side effects, dosing, and disease management. Psychiatric disorders are described alongside the proper use of drug therapy, emphasizing the need to correctly diagnose patients and expertly titrate medications while attenuating side effects.
Assessment: This is an excellent, compact source of highly relevant clinical information on the major classes of psychotropic medications. Having both breadth and depth, it covers dual-action antidepressants, the newest hypnotics, and the few mood stabilizers for bipolar depression. The book also delves into class specific issues and side effects such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, metabolic syndrome, and the potential for drug abuse or cardiac arrhythmias. The handbook only lacks information on Topiramate and Gabapentin, which are only briefly addressed. A more in-depth discussion on medication tapering, switching, and augmentation would benefit this informative resource.