East Asian Arch Psychiatry 2018;28:34

BOOK REVIEW

Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs (22nd Edition)

Principal Editor: Ric M Procyshyn
Editors: Kalyna Z Bezchlibnyk-Butler, J Joel Jeffries
Hogrefe Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-0-88937-496-6


pdf Full Paper in PDF

Psychiatric medications have advanced considerably during the past decade. Although medications do not cure most mental illnesses, they substantially improve symptoms. Medications also make other non-pharmacological treatments more effective. The number of various classes of psychiatric drugs has increased rapidly. Although most doctors know which drugs to prescribe for certain diagnoses, no doctor can remember all the properties of every single drug. We need a quick reference from time to time to choose the right treatment for patients. Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs is an easy-to-use handbook that has useful colour coding and icons. Indications, precautions, drug interactions, and other drug information can be easily found under the corresponding headings.

Evidence-based medicine has become an essential part of clinical practice. However, real-world time constraints make it difficult for clinicians to be up-to-date with all the literature about pharmacological treatments of mental illnesses. This book provides the essential information in a concise style. When using this handbook, readers do not have to struggle with daunting research data and statistical terms. Yet, for those readers who want to read more about the supporting scientific evidence, the book provides a useful appendix at the end of each chapter summarising relevant studies.

Furthermore, doctors often need to revise drug regimens for patients according to treatment response and adverse effects. Doctors are particularly concerned about safety issues such as drug interactions and discontinuation symptoms. In this regard, the book’s table outlining antidepressant-switching methods would be useful, and it is clearly presented and easy-to-follow.

Substance abuse is a complex but treatable condition. There are not many approved pharmacological treatments available to date. Medications are sometimes not the most important treatment option; counselling and other behavioural therapies are more commonly used in addiction psychiatry. This handbook also discusses the unapproved pharmacological treatments for substance abuse. Similarly, apart from approved drug treatments for mental illnesses, the book summarises natural health products and other treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy, bright-light therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

This handbook is almost encyclopaedic in scope and should be regarded as a leading reference about the latest treatments in psychiatry. Nonetheless, it should not be regarded as a guideline to dictate which treatments should be administered for which disorders. Instead, it is a collection of expert opinion, scientific research, and clinical experience. The book will help clinicians choose appropriate medications that best suit the needs of individual patients. Psychotropic drugs are usually prescribed in psychiatric settings to treat mental illnesses, but they are also used for other illnesses in many other health care settings. Therefore, health care professionals from all backgrounds may find this book useful.

TP Chiang, MBBS, MRCPsych, FHKCPsych, FHKAM

(Psychiatry)

(email: ctp571@ha.org.hk)

Department of General Adult Psychiatry

Castle Peak Hospital

Hong Kong SAR, China

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