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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Norman L. Katz, M.S., Ph.D. R.Ph.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy)
Description: Pierre Biron is a pioneer in the teaching of pharmacovigilance who, for many years, has written a book focusing on common questions and procedures involved in prescribed-drug monitoring. Dr. Barton L. Cobert, from the Schering Plough Research Institute, has ably helped Dr. Biron translate the French version into this English edition.
Purpose: The book retains its dictionary-style format. Pharmacovigilance is the "detection in the community of drug effects, usually adverse." Detection may "be passive (collecting reports) or active (structured), where patients or prescribers are recruited and surveyed."
Audience: The book provides starting material for novices, including medical and legal personnel, who wish to familiarize themselves with this discipline.
Features: The book is composed of a one-page foreword, an introduction, information about the style used for references, a list of abbreviations, and the 235-page alphabetized dictionary. Regarding the latter, the lexicographers include words and terms that are used by devotees of the discipline. Do you want to know what pharmacovigilance means? You can look it up here and find both a narrow and broad definition. The authors explain terms (e.g., Dear Doctor Letter, first dose phenomenon), concepts (e.g., adverse drug reactions, adverse events), and elucidate the tools and methods used to conduct pharmacovigilance studies. Terms are not defined in isolation but used in context with background information and relevance to other subjects. The dictionary is replete with literature references and referenced Web sites that elaborate on particular areas. Cross-listing is used liberally. Beware, there are no pictorial illustrations, summary tables, or algorithms — only highly readable text.
Assessment: This book can be used both for reference and for leisurely browsing.