Description: These guidelines endeavor to give clinicians clear and concise advice on psychiatric medications. The previous edition was published in April 2012.
Purpose: This is designed as a clinical resource for information on prescribing psychiatric medications. It succinctly reviews current data and provides broad guidelines and recommendations on the use of these medications for specific psychiatric disorders. It is a reliable and quick reference that can help reinforce or reevaluate a treatment plan.
Audience: The intended audience is anyone prescribing psychiatric medications, with the focus on psychiatry residents and practitioners, although the book could be used by any clinician who cares for patients who are mentally ill. It meets the needs of its intended audience with a few caveats. It is a great guide for managing medications day to day. However, it is a concise and clinical book and thus more in-depth pharmacological information should be sought from the provided references or through other resources.
Features: The book is organized by psychiatric illness, with further subdivisions into the treatment options available, the evidence for the best supported options, side effects that can result, other special considerations for prescribing, and available alternative treatments. It also has succinct and practical information on the formulations, dosages, precautions, monitoring, and costs of the various treatments. A number of quite informative summary tables and flowcharts give easy to follow guidelines. The information is based on extensive literature review and on actual clinical practices. Each section also includes an extensive list of references so that readers can further review the information. The format lends itself to clinical use: i.e. seeing a patient, determining a diagnosis, and then considering treatment options. One drawback to the format is that information on some medications with utility in different illnesses is spread across chapters.
Assessment: This is a valuable book for clinicians caring for the mentally ill. It is succinct in its presentation and guidelines, but broad in its scope of coverage. It is easy to follow and easy to read. It also provides extensive references. This edition offers updated guidelines which incorporate prescribing information and data that has accumulated since the prior edition. Additionally, it has new and/or expanded areas such as plasma level monitoring and depot medications. All of these updates justify replacing the previous edition. Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology: Prescriber's Guide, 5th edition, Stahl (Cambridge University Press, 2014), is comparable, but these two books have very different approaches. Maudsley is more clinically concerned with the "how" of these medications, while Stahl's is more pharmacologically oriented to the "why" of the medications; thus they complement each other. One caveat is that Stahl's is a British book, but the authors are aware of the book's use outside of the U.K. and thus cover a broad formulary. Overall, it offers evidence-based information in clear and concise guidelines which follow NICE prescribing guidelines.