This really is one of those books that if you prescribe medication you must have. This edition continues the work of previous editions in giving advice in prescribing medication for psychiatric illness. Read in conjunction with the BNF it gives detailed advice on concomittant administration of psychotropic, antimanic and antidepressent medication, drug interactions and timetables for administration to acheive therapuetic levels. Importantly it also gives information on titration for medication. It doesn't replace training and experience in prescribing psychiatric medication but it does give a wealth of information that those at the fringes: i.e. GP's involved in the continuing care of a patient, will find extremely useful as will established psychiatrists, psychiatrists in training and other mental health professionals involved in prescribing.
Fantastic reference book for those who work in mental health, and possibly of use too those with a need to cross check medicines etc prescribed by the mental health professional or GP. However it's not aimed at the general market, and has a lot of in depth prescribing charts etc which could be misinterpreted by those without the knowledge to follow their content and put it in context. It does have some new research published in it, but again I question whether it will be of use to the layman, but is rather aimed at those who work in the filed.
The Maudsley Hospital is my alma mater, having undertaken my mental health nurse training there in 1986. One of the most formative educational experiences of my life, which prompted my request for this text. I don't work in the mental health field now per se, but as a qualified nurse in the private sector, have relied at times on this text for discussion both with my peers, and out-hours emergency service. For of having a few eye-brows raised, with the help of this text, it has saved me from some difficult situations at 03:00 in the morning, when I am looking for some advice from a Medicom practitioner that has been, (may I say clueless), in terms of what/how to prescribe medication in an acute situation.
Because of its specific attention to mental health, the experience within the text is admirable, I feel more secure with this reference text than I do with the BNF.
This is the 11th version of this excellent publication written by 3 well renowned experts in the field of medicines in Psychiatry Pharmacists Pr David Taylor and Carol Paton, and Psychiatrist Pr S. Kapur based at the Maudsley Hospital part of Kings College in South London which is one of the UK centres of excellence in this field covering one of the largest psychiatric populations in Europe.
The book is aimed at healthcare professionals and not a lay audience.
It covers main topics: schizophrenia (psychosis), bipolar disorder (some times known as manic depression), depression and anxiety (mood disorders), prescribing in children (psychosis, OCD, ADHD, depression and anxiety, tic and Tourettes syndrome), substance abuse (alcohol, nicotine, opiates e.g. heroin).
There is a section on prescribing for patients with other medical conditions such as pregnancy, renal and hepatic impairment (liver and kidney problems) etc. There is brief coverage of other diseases many of which although arise through problems in the brain, and may be seen by Psychiatrists are considered neurological diseases rather than psychiatric e.g. MS, dementia, and Parkinson's Disease.
The text is written in a very neutral balanced style, with a focus on considering the needs of individual patients at its core. Prescribing recommendations are based on evidence from research studies and NICE guidance. Clinical research studies on medicines are carried out to very high standards, however the results of any study will always be the subject of some debate. Studies may be small and populations restricted to ensure meaningful results. Hence the conclusions may not be so relevant to a wider general population. NICE considers the effectiveness of various treatments but also has a remit to consider the cost of healthcare in England. The text is fully referenced and in places relative costs of various treatments are listed for information. The information is up to date Dec 2011 and the book is available in electronic format. Non drug treatments are not included as this is a text on medicines and the authors comment that this does not mean that alternatives are not of value but are outside the books remit.