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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Paul R Hutson, Pharm.D., M.S.(University of Wisconsin)
Description: This book provides an up-to-date summary of disease-based pathobiology and the mechanism of drug classes currently used in each disease. In this context, the chapters then introduce nutrients or dietary supplements that may enhance or attenuate the effect of the drugs.
Purpose: The editor's purpose is to present evidence-based summaries of the effects of food and herbals upon commonly used drugs. This is a timely and useful objective, as there is a burgeoning amount of new information on disease processes, pharmacologic mechanisms, and in vitro and clinical effects of dietary supplements. This book is helpful in providing a mechanistic understanding of how drug-nutrient interactions might be expected, or have been proven to occur. Different chapter authors provide varying degrees of interpretation of the magnitude and clinical impact of these interactions.
Audience: The book is clearly written and provides sufficient background to allow students and practitioners alike to understand the mechanisms of the interactions. The limited detail of clinical study results or of their clinical implications limits the utility of the book to practicing physicians, pharmacists, and dieticians. However, it does provide extremely useful distillations by experts in their fields that will be appreciated by those seeking a mechanistic understanding of drug-supplement interactions that will guide their clinical decisions.
Features: The topics covered in this book reflect the diseases for which the public most commonly uses dietary supplements. These include cancer treatment and prevention, dyslipidemias, and neurodegenerative or psychiatric disorders. In addition, useful chapters cover interactions with anesthetic agents, and gene expression effects that may have clinical relevance. There are limited figures, and none are in color. Additional figures to illustrate biochemical pathways would be helpful, as would tables to summarize the magnitude of any effects noted in pivotal clinical trials of the supplements considered.
Assessment: This book is well written and provides a mechanistic understanding of the known or likely effects of components found in common dietary supplements as they relate to the functioning of major drug classes. While the scope of the book excludes consideration of some dietary supplements such as CoQ10 or glucosamine, the book does provide an extremely helpful framework by which the effects and interactions of drugs and nutrients can be understood. In this regard, it is more helpful in providing a mechanistic understanding than other books and references such as the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 8th edition (Pharmacists Letter, 2005), or Drug Facts and Comparisons 2006, 60th edition (Wolters Kluwer Health, 2005).