Reviewed by Dr Harry Brown
Derek Waller, Anthony Sampson, Andrew Renwick and Keith Hillier
Published by Saunders Elsevier
One of my favourite subjects as an undergraduate was basic and clinical pharmacology and I certainly retain a great interest in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. It still remains a big building block of modern medicine and is a topic that is core to every prescriber. Of course we should all have access and regularly refer to a BNF (either paper or digital), good clinical journals and high quality websites. Of course in these modern times, don’t forget a good textbook and there is a still role for such a reference source.
I had the pleasure of using this book for a fairly reasonable length of time and found it invaluable. First of all it is British and so ideal for those of us in the UK, all the authors have an association with the University of Southampton. It is also bang up to date being published this year (2014) and is now in a mature 4th edition. It’s laid out in typical textbook style and is organised into general principles and body systems. This traditional approach is fine and is easy and intuitive for a clinician. It is a reasonable size book at over 700 pages but packs in a huge amount of information, enough to turn it into a one stop shop for most clinicians. It is easy to drill down into what you need or if you want just read a few chapters. Chapter 40 on diabetes mellitus is an excellent and readable summary of current practice and is well worth a visit.
The text is broken up into digestible chunks and good use is made of colour whilst there is plenty of self assessment to pit your wits against. It is a great book, ideal for undergraduates but it is also a super reference source for clinicians wanting to brush up their knowledge. It is an ideal adjunct to the BNF.
The only downside I can think of is that this volume is not bundled with any digital access either as an app or a website. Hopefully this will come with time.
Dr Harry Brown