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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2010 Jan-Feb; 63(1): 55.
PMCID: PMC2832552

Basic Pharmacokinetics

Reviewed by Jennifer Kendrick, BSc, BSc(Pharm), ACPR, PharmD student

SS Jambhekar ,  PJ Breen .  Pharmaceutical Press,  London, United Kingdom,  2009. Softcover, 416 pages. ISBN  978-0-85369-772-5.  $59.99. 

Basic Pharmacokinetics is a first edition textbook aimed primarily at the entry-level pharmacy student in the United States and Canada. In their foreword, the authors also state that the book would be useful for pharmaceutical scientists, medical students, and graduate students in the pharmaceutical sciences. This textbook covers the following topics: intravascular and extravascular drug administration, single and multicompartmental models, first-order and zero-order pharmacokinetics, noncom-partmental pharmacokinetics, drug interactions, biopharmaceutics, and pharmacodynamics.

Each of the 18 chapters includes clear objectives and a comprehensive introduction. The textbook chapters are visually appealing and well written. The authors make good use of equations, diagrams, and graphs to illustrate important pharmacokinetic concepts. The use of problem sets following major sections or chapters, which include detailed work-through answers, makes the textbook very useful as a course reference.

Unfortunately, the book is not as well organized as it could be, both within and between chapters. For example, the single IV bolus one-compartment model is covered in chapter 3, but continuous IV infusion, multiple-dose IV bolus infusion, and intermittent IV infusions are not covered until chapters 10, 11, and 14, respectively. Important concepts such as area under the concentration–time curve, clearance, and bioavailability are introduced relatively late in the textbook, although the authors do devote an entire chapter to clearance concepts. The organization of the book would make it difficult for someone just starting out in pharmacokinetics to follow from start to finish.

This book devotes 2 chapters to physicochemical factors affecting drug absorption and the role of the dosage form in drug absorption, both of which might otherwise be covered in a pharmaceutics textbook. A better use of space might have been to dedicate chapters to other important pharmacokinetics concepts, such as hepatic clearance (e.g., the well-stirred model) and urinary excretion data, which are covered in less detail elsewhere in the book.

Although primarily a basic pharmacokinetics book, this volume does include many clinical examples. Many of the concepts are first illustrated using a simple nonphysiologic example, followed by a clinical or physiologic example. However, some of the clinical concepts are not covered in enough depth to form a good reference for clinical pharmacokinetics courses, such as those offered in some Canadian undergraduate and graduate pharmacy programs. For example, vancomycin and aminoglycosides are used to illustrate the first-order intermittent IV infusion model; however, the worked-through examples do not include the determination of a new dosing regimen, although they do describe how to calculate volume of distribution and elimination rate constant. The topic of non-steady-state pharmacokinetics is not mentioned at all.

Overall, Basic Pharmacokinetics is well written and accurate, and it clearly states the assumptions for various pharmacokinetic concepts. The layout, which appropriately includes the use of lists, bullets, figures, and tables in addition to the text, makes the individual sections easy to follow. This would be a good textbook for an introductory or basic pharmacokinetics course and may be especially useful for instructors who wish to use certain chapters and problems as homework assignments.

Articles from The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy are provided here courtesy of Canadian Society Of Hospital Pharmacists