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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is a new, small pocketbook cataloguing the adverse side effects of medications used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, this book, written by a dermatologist, has such serious flaws that they render this pocketbook essentially useless, particularly since there are much better references on this topic available, both in print and electronic formats.
Purpose: The author correctly points out that adverse drug reactions are underreported and frequently lead to mortality and morbidity. The author's implication is that this book, which lists the adverse effects of over 170 commonly prescribed and over the counter drugs and herbals, will impact the underreporting problem. With important information that is astonishingly omitted from this reference, this book could only contribute to the problem!
Audience: The intended audience, according to the author: "A must for every doctor's office..." I certainly hope not.
Features: This pocketbook features 175 pages listing psychiatric drugs, including their trade names, indications, category, half-life, "clinically important, potentially hazardous interactions", and then a list purportedly of skin, cardiovascular, and other reactions, with occasional mention of their frequency. The book has significant omissions: for example, under amitriptyline, although there is a long list of skin reactions, there is no mention under cardiovascular reactions of orthostatic hypotension. Under eyes, nystagamus is listed, but common or potentially dangerous side effects such as blurred vision and increased intraocular pressure are missing. Common experienced gastrointestinal side effects are not listed, such as constipation. Genitourinary side effects such urinary retention is omitted. CNS problems such as confusion, restlessness, and sedation are absent. Pregnancy and breast feeding considerations are overlooked. Potentially dangerous drug interactions are not listed such as amitriptyline's potential to increase the effects of amphetamine, anticholinergics, and CNS depressants. The drug interactions with fluoxetine and warfarin are dangerously skipped over. Lithium, another commonly prescribed drug with potentially significant adverse effects, is also under described. There is an extensive list of skin reactions but important problems such as hypothyroidism and diabetes insipidus are missing. The drug interactions with ACE inhibitors and NSAIDs (except for valdecoxib) are not listed. I can go on.
Assessment: There are much better references than this pocketbook available. This is also 2006 and the use of electronic references is quicker, they are frequently updated and are much more complete. "Epocrates" (which, in the basic version, is free), "Lexi-Drugs", are among numerous high-quality drug references on the market. This book is selling for near $50 dollars. If you spend that much money on this seriously flawed book, then maybe you should see a psychiatrist!