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Book Review

Handbook of Psychiatric Drug Therapy: A Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Handbook, 6th ed

David L. Dunner, MD

Published: October 15, 2010

Handbook of Psychiatric Drug Therapy: A Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Handbook, 6th ed.

by Lawrence A. Labbate, MD; Maurizio Fava, MD; Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD; and George W. Arana, MD. Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 2010, 304 pages, $54.95 (paper).

This handbook is a concise compendium of psychiatric treatments. There are 9 chapters covering an overview of psychiatric drug therapy and treatment of psychotic disorders, depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use and addictive disorders, sleep disorders, dementia, and attention deficit disorder. The index is quite useful, and the medications are described in sufficient detail regarding dosing, efficacy, drug interactions, and side effects. Newer treatments that are not currently marketed and some medications not available in the United States are also discussed. The material is comprehensive and thoroughly covered. There are numerous references at the end of each chapter, although they are not referenced in the text of the chapter.

Although I had a positive view of this book overall, there are some problems. The print is quite small (very likely necessitated by having to include so much material but keep the size of the book small enough to fit into a jacket pocket). Also, there seems to be little emphasis on what might not work when it comes to augmentation strategies for antidepressant nonresponse—the various augmentors are listed, but some have much better evidence for efficacy than others, and the list implies that all the treatments might have equal efficacy. One of my concerns is about the use of trazodone in male patients due to the possibility of priapism, and this potential side effect is noted in the discussion of use of trazodone as an antidepressant and as a sleep aid, but not in the discussion of use of trazodone as a sleep aid in combination with SSRIs. I also could not find mention of prazosin as a sleep aid for nightmares associated with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Handbook of Psychiatric Drug Therapy is likely to be quite useful in a hospital, emergency room, or outpatient setting where questions regarding appropriate treatment require quick answers. I see this handbook as having great utility for medical students, residents in psychiatry, and psychiatric practitioners.

David L. Dunner, MD

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 (owns a Neurostar device to treat patients with rTMS); has been a consultant/advisory board member for Eli Lilly, Wyeth, and Sanofi Aventis; and has been on the speakers bureaus of Pfizer, Wyeth, Neuronetics, AstraZeneca, and Janssen.

Volume: 71

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