Reviewer: Melissa M. Potts, BS, PharmD (Temple University School of Pharmacy)
Description: This is the 35th edition of a drug reference that provides healthcare professionals with objective and current information on drugs used throughout the world. The first volume of this two volume set contains the preface and drug monographs. The second volume includes the index, proprietary preparations used in several countries, and their manufacturers. The book also includes information on disease states and treatment and provides tables where appropriate for easy interpretation of the material. The previous edition was published in 2005.
Purpose: Due to expanding information on existing medications and newly approved drugs and treatments, there is a need for this reference to be updated periodically. The frequency of publication had been increased in recent years to every three years and with the 35th edition, to every two years. This is an invaluable source of information for healthcare providers who are practicing today. We are treating an increasing number of patients from various countries and backgrounds. These patients may use medications we are not familiar with or are referred to by a different proprietary name in the U.S. This book provides concise and up-to-date information on these medications and comparable products available in the U.S.
Audience: It is intended for any healthcare provider prescribing or dispensing medications to patients with various backgrounds. It is a useful tool in identifying medications used in other countries, their indications, chemical names, and manufacturers. This information is useful in determining which medications available in the U.S. may be prescribed in the place of these therapies. All of the editors have pharmacy degrees and have received formal training in literature evaluation. Reputable sources of information include major medical journals, regulatory authorities (including the FDA), in addition to pharmacopoeial, governmental, and WHO publications relating to drug therapy. Finally, external reviewers are used when possible and the review panel consists of clinical pharmacists and pharmacologists.
Features: The reference is organized into three sections. Part 1 contains 4,603 drug monographs organized into chapters based on mechanism of action and indication. The monographs are comprehensive and include adverse effects and treatment, precautions, contraindications, interactions, pharmacokinetics, and uses and administration. These chapters also contain information on disease state and management of disease. Part 2 on supplementary drugs and other substances contains 984 drug monographs on herbal medicines, drugs not easily classified, and drugs no longer clinically used but still of interest. There are also monographs on toxic substances, which may be useful to healthcare professionals treating the adverse effects of these drugs. Part 3 contains proprietary preparations from a range of countries and includes proprietary name, manufacturer, and indication of the drug. Finally, the index includes drug name (brand and generic names and synonyms), preparations, pharmacologic and therapeutic groups, and clinical uses, giving the reader a comprehensive list by which to search for drug information. Unique features include a list of abbreviations used throughout the reference, chemical structures of many of the drugs, and a new table on the interactions of antiviral drugs. The reference is comprehensive in that it includes sections on mainstream drug information, such as cardiovascular and GI drugs. However, it also includes information that may not be as accessible to healthcare providers, such as chapters on nutritional agents and vitamins, vaccines, and chelators, antidotes, and antagonists. One of the shortcomings of the book lies in the organization of its chapters. For instance, the section on analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antipyretics includes information on drugs one would expect to find in this chapter: aspirin, NSAIDS, and opioids. However, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS) are also included in this section, which one may not expect. Therefore, it is helpful to reference the index when researching a particular drug or class of drug.
Assessment: Because we are treating patients from all over the world or patients who may obtain their medications from other countries, this is an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals. Volume 2 allows for identifying the medication by proprietary name, and provides the chemical name, mechanism of action, and manufacturer of the medication. It also includes cross references to additional information on the drugs provided in Volume 1. Because there are always new drugs being approved and used all over the world, and new uses for drugs already available, this updated reference is crucial in providing current drug information. Martindale's is a key reference for information on drugs and therapies used throughout the world.