Reviewed by Jim Young
Robert B. Raffa, Scott M. Rawls, Elena Portyansky Beyzarov
Illustrator: Frank H. Netter, MD
Contributing illustrators: James A Perkins, John A. Craig, Carlos A. G. Machado, Dragonfly Media
Published by Saunders Elsevier
This updated version of Netter’s Illustrated Pharmacology includes new illustrations that accompany Netter’s original drawings. The comprehensive annotated illustrations and succinct accompanying text, never fail to elicit an “Ah, Now I understand!” reaction. By illuminating the latest developments in molecular biology, cellular physiology and neurophysiology, pharmacodynamics / kinetics, and complex research findings, it will enhance the reader’s basic understanding of pharmacology. While at the same time the considerations of disease processes, patient presentations and subsequent treatment are relevant to the clinic.
The illustrations offer a sumptuous pedagogy. The explanatory text in the bottom fifth of each page is the lexicon to the fully annotated illustrations, and both co-illuminate the current topic with consummate ease. Even illustrations which at first glance appear rather daunting are explained with an ease that surprises the reader, and elicit a feeling that they could not have been understood without the images.
Equally one is aware that the expositions are a preparation for further study. The unavoidable caveat being that no textbook about such a dynamic subject could ever pretend to be up to date with recently introduced medications. The Diabetes section for example does not cover the incretins or sodium glucose co-transporters. However, further investigation by the reader into new pharmacological therapeutics will be undertaken having gained a thorough understanding of the pathophysiological background of the disease and the accompanying pharmacology.
As a textbook for healthcare clinicians, undergraduate students, or as an illuminating discourse for the general reader it is superb. The patient / physician interactions are shown to be a truly two way process, and the axiomatic caricatures of disease presentation will be immediately recognisable. One would like to think that the book will elicit an empathy for both parties that will stay with the practitioner forever.
Although the authors are from the United States the subject matter and presentation is suitable for a British audience.
Physically the book is of a good size for the hand and not dauntingly thick. The font is pleasing and the quiet pastel elegance of the illustrations is seductive. As a dip-in reference it is ideal for interrogation either by the pathophysiology of a particular anatomical system or by reference to a medication, and each enquiry will be answered with the full gamut of information on one page!
I can recommend this book as a solid, easily assimilated and thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the fascinating subject of pharmacology.
The book is a pleasure to behold.