Essential Evidence-Based Psychopharmacology, 2nd ed

edited by Dan J. Stein, Bernard Lerer, and Stephen M. Stahl. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 2012, 325 pages, $75.00 (paper).

The first edition of this volume was published in 2005, and recent advances in psychopharmacology make it timely to have a second edition. I found this book to be overall quite useful and informative. One of the issues I have with books of reviewed topics relates to how current the volume is. In the reference list, I noted at least 1 reference from 2011, but there are many references from 2010, suggesting that the information in the book is reasonably current.

A second feature that I look for is the index, which in this book is comprehensive, and a third feature relates to references and their ease of use. Each chapter is quite well referenced.

Essential Evidence-Based Psychopharmacology consists of 14 chapters, and each chapter is multiauthored by international experts in the disorders they discuss. I found the international flavor of this book quite different from most books of this type; often, books that review topics are either revised or authored by the editors themselves, or most of the authors are from the United States. Indeed, most of the authors of these chapters are not from the United States, which provides an interesting international perspective on the content.

The chapters cover the major psychiatric conditions and disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, nicotine and alcohol dependence, illicit substance use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and personality disorders. Certainly, the chapter on the pharmacotherapy of personality disorders is novel, as this topic is not usually included in similar texts.

The editors are internationally recognized experts in psychopharmacology. What is perhaps missing from this text are the clever cartoons that often characterize books by Stephen Stahl, but this absence is made up for by very nice tables summarizing the data on the different medications found to be useful for treatment of specific conditions. I did find it somewhat interesting that the effect of lithium on suicidal behaviors was discussed in the chapter on major depressive disorder rather than the chapter on bipolar disorders, for which the effect is better established. Also, because of the international flavor of this book, several medications are mentioned that are not available in the United States.

Essential Evidence-Based Psychopharmacology would be a very good text for psychiatrists in practice and especially those who have recently graduated from a residency training program and are beginning their practice. Given the increasing lack of interest of pharmaceutical companies in developing new medications for psychiatric conditions, I wonder if this might be not only the second edition but also the last edition.

David L. Dunner, MD

dldunner@comcast.net

Author affiliation: University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Potential conflicts of interest: In the past year, Dr Dunner has received grant support from Cyberonics and Neuronetics; has been a consultant/advisory board member for Eli Lilly, Cyberonics, Pfizer, Cervel, Neuronetics, and Jazz; and has been on the speakers bureaus of Pfizer, Neuronetics, AstraZeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.