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From The CriticsReviewer: Carol Calianno, BSN, MSN (Jeanes Hospital)
Description: This is a unique compilation of drug information on commonly used drugs in a concise format. As a quick look reference, there are three ways to find information. The drug information section includes drug name(s) and synonyms, therapeutic categories, indications, and age and disease related doses. The indication/therapeutic index section offers a quick way to look up a disorder and identify pharmaceuticals commonly used in treatment. The appendix is a collection of common tables used to guide drug choices/dosing and offers concise guidelines for a wide range of chemotherapeutic regimens. In addition, there is an online reference available through which readers have access to additional drug information and appendixes.
Purpose: The purpose is to offer data on commonly used drugs in a more concise format than is typically found. This book does just that. It offers data on commonly used drugs, primarily hospital-based drugs, in a clear concise way. This condensed format along with the unique appendix and indication/therapeutic index makes this a book worth having.
Audience: It is intended for a variety of healthcare professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and pharmacists. It would be particularly valuable to students and novice practitioners. Although the authors state in the preface that this book is for use in hospital and other clinical settings, the focus is largely on medications and regimens used in the acute care setting.
Features: The drug information section includes several unique features not commonly found in drug reference books. In addition to drug names and synonyms, it includes a pronunciation guide and U.S./Canadian brand names. Often there are notes to guide usage or dosing. The indication/therapeutic index is a list of common diseases/disorders with references to pharmaceuticals commonly used for that disorder. The appendix is the most unique in that it offers information and guidelines for treatment of a wide range of diseases. Included are tables on antiretrovirals, drugs to treat complications of HIV, and the chemotherapeutic regimens for most cancers. A color glossary highlights the top 200 prescribed oral medications. There are some minor shortcomings. The therapeutic category sections are not always consistent, for example, diabetic drugs are listed as antidiabetic agents or hypoglycemic agents, but the drug category is not listed, such as biguanide, sulfonylurea. Also, the reference for HgbA1C in the appendix for lab values lists < 8 as normal.
Assessment: This is a unique drug reference. It offers information similar to online databases such as Lexi-comp or ePocrates. The drug information and indication/therapeutic sections are all information that can be obtained via PDA. What makes this book remarkable and a MUST HAVE is the comprehensive appendix for chemotherapeutic regimens. This condensed information is invaluable to those in primary and acute care who want a greater understanding of which agents are commonly used in their patients' chemotherapy and it can help guide their treatment plans.