Description: This is a basic pharmacology textbook with an emphasis on the biochemical and cellular mechanisms required for understanding the treatment of pathophysiological conditions.
Purpose: This is a collaborative effort by Harvard medical faculty and students to prepare a book useful for students who are studying pharmacology as part of their curriculum. This is particularly useful for courses that focus on the biochemical, cellular, and physiological basis of drug action.
Audience: The book is designed for medical, dental, and pharmacy students, but I find it most useful as a basic pharmacology text for PhD graduate students who have a strong background in molecular and cellular principles but a weaker background in anatomic and physiologic principles as seen in most integrative graduate programs today. This book markedly helps fill the void of anatomical- and physiological-based courses in modern graduate programs.
Features: The strength of this book lies in the numerous excellent figures that explain the cellular and molecular aspects of drug actions on a physiological basis. This second edition has 100 new or extensively redesigned figures. Unfortunately, the color scheme of the figures does not show up as well on PowerPoint slides as do figures from many competing texts. The sections on fundamentals of drug development and regulation and frontiers in pharmacology provide a perspective not found in most fundamental pharmacology books. An access code is provided for an electronic version of the book and images. A companion case-based workbook, Principles of Pharmacology Workbook, by Farrell (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008), reviews important concepts and drug classes in a question-and-answer format that is valuable for course and board exam review.
Assessment: This edition is updated and improved in content and clarity from the first edition. There are many excellent pharmacology textbooks to choose from and I prefer this one for our graduate student course in pharmacology. I still prefer Katzung's Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 10th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006), for teaching our medical students because of its superior discussion on the clinical use of drugs.