East Asian Arch Psychiatry 2014;24:81

Book Review

Kaplan & Sadock’s Pocket Handbook of Psychiatric Drug Treatment

Author: Benjamin Sadock
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. USD 71.25; pp 336; 978-1-4511-9225-4

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In contrast to The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry which focuses more on the indications and evidence of prescription, or the Stahl’s Essential Pharmacology which, as its name suggests, describes in detail the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of psychotropics, the Pocket Handbook of Psychiatric Drug Treatment is a pocket companion that presents you with an overview of psychotropic medications to cover the practical clinical issues that a prescriber needs to know.

The user-friendly book is organised into sections of drugs classified by their chemical classes and clinical utility. Within each section, drugs are listed in an alphabetical order, and information including the preparation and dosages, pharmacological actions, indications and off-label uses, uses in special groups (children, elderly, pregnancy, lactating mothers), side-effects, and drug-drug interaction is provided. To further facilitate readers in understanding the pharmacological actions, the first chapter of the book introduces the basic principles of pharmacokinetics and outlines the effects of each receptor for easy reference.

Compared with the fifth edition (which I happen to own), the latest edition includes significantly updated sections on nutritional supplements, and a new chapter on weight-loss drugs. These new updates make the book more applicable to clinical practice across a range of primary care and hospital settings.

I especially appreciated the section on dosing regimens. This handbook provides information not only on the common / minimum and maximum dosages, but also on the initiation dosage, the frequency of increasing medications (it actually tells you how fast and how much the dosage of each medication could be increased), the targeted dose, the switching of medication, etc. The information is listed out very systematically for quick reference, and is very helpful in the day-to-day practice.

More importantly, this book has a very favourable size — it has only about 300 pages and is truly pocket sized. It is, thus, a very handy clinician’s companion as a prescription and study guide, especially useful for specialist trainees preparing for their clinical examination.

Hiu-Ying Choy, MBChB (email: annechoy@gmail.com) Department of Psychiatry

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong SAR, China

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