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Book: Pocket Prescriber 2010

December 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Pocket Prescriber 2010

I kind of stumbled across this little book recently. So far, I quite like it. If you use the BNF regularly, you can probably get a bit of help out of this little gem. It aims to give the reader a quick snapshot of what you actually need to know about a drug.

Unlike with the BNF where you need to find the drug then find the drug’s parent to read about cautions. Then you need to search through an appendix or two to find the possible interactions. This book takes the commonly prescribed drugs (I haven’t found any particular omission yet, common and not so much) and tells you everything all at once. This includes what the drug does, when to use it, when not to use it, what to be careful of, what to tell the patient and how much to prescribe. For certain drugs there is a fairly noticeable extra bit where something important needs mentioning. This continues in a helpful A-Z fashion for 160 or so pages.

Following this is a useful chapter on the rationale behind selecting certain drugs. Covering topics from antibiotics to antidepressants. There is the potential for a lot of time saved here. Ok, so it’s never going to match ever local policy but you won’t find it in the BNF at all! Plus, compared to our local Therapeutics manual – this thing doesn’t need a backpack to carry it.

With still a few more sections to go, the next is on areas often considered difficult to prescribe. Insulin, anticoagulants and thrombolytics make up the majority of this section. All the advice is evidence based and articles are fully referenced for the background reading if required.

Almost there, but not quite. Next is an appropriately named Miscellaneous chapter covering everything from common side effects to the use of intravenous fluids. Also sneaked into the end of that chapter is a discussion on the all important CYP450. This is an easily accessible version of important pharmacology which otherwise would probably require a textbook. Useful for the (heh) quiet times when a bit of revision can be squashed in.

Better still though is the final chapter – medical emergencies. The focus is on the immediate recognition and management. I would hate the thought someone would quickly be consulting this text in such a situation but it no doubt happens. Personally I aim to learn this chapter before I graduate…we’ll see how that goes. Just in case though, the front and back inside covers fold out to reveal ALS algorithms as well as the NICE guidelines for TIA and stroke.

My only real complaint about this book would be the extreme use of abbreviations. I appreciate they’ve tried to keep the text small – successfully, it’s tiny! – but there were at least a few that threw me for a minute. Nevertheless, it’s a great book – although probably more so for junior doctors than students. However, if you know anyone studying for finals, Christmas present?

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