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Yale J Biol Med. 2010 March; 83(1): 47–48.
Published online 2010 March.
PMCID: PMC2844694

Clinician’s Pocket Drug Reference 2009

Reviewed by Anthony Marfeo, MS4

Leonard G. Gomella, Steven A. Haist, Aimee G. Adams 
Clinician’s Pocket Drug Reference 2009.
2009. McGraw Hill Medical: New York. ISBN: (Paperback) 978-0071602808. US $12.95 312 p

The Clinician’s Pocket Drug Reference is both extremely compact and full of information. The body of text contains an alphabetical listing of the generic names of the drugs most commonly encountered on the wards or in an outpatient setting. This formatting maximizes the amount of information in such a small book, while focusing on nothing but the most important information. Each drug has a brief comment on its uses, pharmacology, dosing, cautions, side effects, and other crucial notes. A big plus is the herbal section, which lists the medicines patients are most likely to try on their own, presented in the same layout as the rest of the book.

The front of the book also contains a broad list of drugs organized by category, which is more useful as a memory aid than for management assistance. The level of detail is a little variable. If you want a third-generation cephalosporin, for example, you’re in luck, as the antibiotics are well organized. Looking for an SSRI? It’s somewhere in the antidepressant section. Antihistamines are also a single group. You must flip to the main entries should you forget whether a drug is for a runny nose or gastritis. The book does seem to have an internal medicine focus and covers those areas best.

In practice, this book probably will not help doctors choose a drug, but it will assist in the nuts and bolts of writing orders or prescriptions (which explains the book’s subtitle: the Scut Monkey Drug Manual). The appendix also includes tables for common, difficult-to-remember subjects such as steroid and anesthetic equivalents, a list of cardiac drugs, and anticoagulant goals. A benzodiazepine comparison chart would have been nice, but perhaps it will turn up in a future edition.

For its size, this book is a valuable resource. It takes up very little pocket room, and it is an efficient way to recall details about familiar drugs. Of course, one would need to supplement this book with a more comprehensive reference, but for quick prescribing on the wards or in an office, this book will make life a little bit easier.

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