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From The CriticsReviewer: Julie A. Stanik-Hutt, PhD, ACNP, CCNS (Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing)
Description: This new, compact, drug reference manual focuses specifically on medications frequently used in the management of critically ill individuals.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide easy access to comprehensive information about the specialized medications routinely used by critical care providers of all types. In general, the authors achieve their objective.
Audience: "According to the authors, a critical care clinical nurse specialist and two clinical pharmacists, the book is intended for all critical care providers from staff nurses to physicians. While it serves this target audience as a quick reference, it would never be considered a comprehensive pharmacology text. Rather, it is what it is, a quick reference that provides specific information for application to clinical practice settings. "
Features: The first section is the typical alphabetical directory of hundreds of medications. For each drug, readers will find concise, clinically useful information about the mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, indications and dosing, contraindications, interactions, and all gradations of side effects (minor to serious to overdosage/toxicity). Dosing sections cover appropriate adjustments in patients with organ dysfunctions. The book also provides critical care considerations, which include helpful notes regarding administration, patient specific precautions, and effects of renal replacement therapy on the medication. Some important details are lacking, however; for example, the authors refer to a "7 step dosing algorithm" for dofetilide dosing, but do not provide one. The second section of the book is a compendium of drug class tables which include essential information about drug dosing and effects. Interestingly, there is no table for ACLS drugs or for vasopressors.
Assessment: At a typical cost of just less than $50, this is a user friendly, concise, yet fairly comprehensive handbook. It would be valuable as a quick reference in critical care clinical practice.