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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas L. Pazdernik, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This book discusses pharmacology in the framework of human physiology, biochemistry, and pathophysiology. It uses the organization found in most traditional pharmacology textbooks and all chapters follow a strict presentation format. Drugs and information have been updated and the book is current through 2010.
Purpose: The authors state that this book represents a new approach to the teaching of a first- or second-year medical school pharmacology course. I agree with the objective, but there are better books with an emphasis on the clinical aspects of drug actions for teaching medical students. However, this book is superb for teaching a pharmacology graduate course.
Audience: It is designed for teaching pharmacology in the medical school curriculum, but is even better suited for teaching graduate students the principles of pharmacology. The authorship of this book is unique in that it is a collaboration of medical students, residents, and faculty with expertise in the content of each chapter.
Features: This book has a number of features that make it unique among pharmacology books. First, and most important, it has a strong focus on molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the pathophysiology of diseases and the molecular actions of drugs used to treat these diseases. It emphasizes critical thinking, molecular understanding, and systems-based integration. Explanations are enriched by well-designed multicolored illustrations. (My one complaint about the illustrations is that the color does not project well on PowerPoint presentations unless the classroom has very dim lighting.) Each chapter is introduced with a well-written clinical vignette that ends with several "yellow light-bulb" questions regarding the case. These "yellow light-bulbs" are then inserted into the text where the explanation to the question is provided. Finally, each chapter ends with a well-designed signature drug summary table that lists drugs with mechanism of action, clinical applications, serious and common adverse effects, contraindications, and therapeutic considerations. These tables allow students to quickly review all the drugs they need to know for examinations. However, detailed discussion of clinical application of drugs is more limited. Students and faculty have access via a PIN number to a website with the fully searchable eBook, PowerPoint presentations of figures for faculty, and, of course, a question bank test generator for students.
Assessment: This is an excellent textbook for teaching pharmacology to medical students and graduate students. I use this book for our Essentials of Pharmacology graduate course, but I still use Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 11th edition, Katzung et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2009) for teaching medical students.