A useful reference text of psychotropic medicines

An essential book for any medicines information department.

‘Clinical handbook of psychotropic drugs 21st edition’, edited by Ric M. Procyshyn, Kalyna Z Bezchlibnyk-Butler, J. Joel Jeffries

The new edition of this reference textbook about psychotropic drugs remains as useful as ever, and is essential for any medicines information department.

It is thorough, detailed and extensive, but the information is clear and concise and the book is easy to navigate because of its consistent, methodical and ordered format. The material is tabulated and clearly displayed throughout using colour coding, icons and symbols, making it simple to use.

The text covers all the main classifications of psychotropic medicines, as well as a number of drugs of abuse and a few non-pharmacological treatments. It has a useful short chapter on the effect of psychotropics on electroconvulsive therapy, as well as a number of chapters on medicines less frequently addressed, such as omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, hormones, and “sex-drive depressants”.

In addition to the usual factors to consider when considering an individual drug (i.e. indications, pharmacology, doses, pharmacokinetics, onset and duration of action, adverse effects, interactions, etc) there are other useful categories, such as interactions with food and herbal medicines, use in pregnancy, and the symptoms of toxicity in overdose. Moreover, it has helpful problem-solving advice, such as treatment options in the management of extrapyramidal symptoms and how to switch antidepressants.

Although written for the US market, this edition includes all the relevant psychotropics available in the UK. For example, all the “typical” or first-generation depots are now included.

Like other widely used American reference texts (such as ‘AHFS drug information’ by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists), the main disadvantages are that these texts do not include accurate details about the licensed indications of the drugs used in the UK. It also includes details of some drugs not licensed in the UK (e.g. ziprasidone oral and intramuscular formulations).

This book collates facts that clinical pharmacists and other professionals working in psychiatry would find useful, alongside other standard referenced resources. This book is useful for every pharmacist working in mental health or addiction services and all medicines information services.


‘Clinical handbook of psychotropic drugs 21st edition’, edited by Ric M Procyshyn, Kalyna Z Bezchlibnyk-Butler, J Joel Jeffries. Pp IV+408 £56. Gottingen: Hogrefe Publishing; 2015. ISBN 978 0 88937 474 4

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2015, Vol 295, No 7883;295(7883):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069191

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