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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: Although filled with information about the various classes of pharmacological agents, this update of a fairly popular handbook of psychopharmacology is more of an encyclopedia than a manual to assist practicing psychiatrists in the treatment of patients. It lacks treatment algorithms and discussions of the diagnostic validity vs. target symptom issues in treatment selection, and electroconvulsive therapy, arguably the most effective treatment in psychiatry, is only very indirectly mentioned (in the description of methohexital).
Purpose: The aim is to provide "to all those who work with and care for the mentally ill," an updated and revised book on the drug therapy used in the everyday practice of psychiatry.
Audience: The target audience, according to the editors, is psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, and medical students and nonpsychiatric physicians who prescribe psychotropic medications.
Features: The 35 chapters cover all the major classes of pharmacological agents used to treat patients with psychiatric disorders. Both on-label and off-label agents are discussed. Unfortunately, a discussion of when and where to use these agents is lacking. The information in the chapters is not referenced. The pictures of commonly used drugs and the index section, however, are helpful.
Assessment: I did not learn anything new from this fifth edition. I cannot see the handbook as being useful for practicing psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, or nonpsychiatric physicians, although it possibly could serve as a reference for medical students.