New edition of reference guide for palliative care specialists

A  comprehensive, independently produced reference on therapeutic information and drugs used in palliative and hospice care. 

‘Palliative Care Formulary 5th edition’. Edited by Robert Twycross, Andrew Wilcock and Paul Howard.

Although primarily targeted to the treatment of cancer patients, Palliative Care Formulary 5th Edition (PCF5) contains specific material relating to symptom management in other life-threatening diseases managed by palliative care organisations such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, neurological conditions and renal failure. It is a comprehensive, independently produced reference on therapeutic information and drugs used in palliative and hospice care. 

Updated every three years, this text pulls together opinion from systematic review databases (for example, Cochrane Library) and official consensus guidance which is checked against official guidance from expert bodies in the UK such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Scottish Medicines Consortium and the General Medical Council, as well as other organisations such as the Association of Palliative Medicine. The information is well referenced and well supported by tables, diagrams and illustrations. A good example of these is an illustration of the spinal and peripheral non-opioid sites of action of analgesics and an accompanying table suggesting considerations when selecting an adjuvant analgesic for neuropathic pain. The pharmacological basis of therapeutics is, in all cases, comprehensive and well set out for each drug class in a way that is easy to understand and is useful information for specialists and generalists alike.

The target audience is principally specialist doctors, nurses and pharmacists involved in the care of patients receiving palliative/hospice care for end-stage disease. However, the wealth of summary information on clinical practice and prescribing guidance, symptom management and unlicensed and off-label drug use makes it a useful reference for the generalist healthcare professional.

All monographs published in the fourth edition have been reviewed and updated for PCF5. To aid comparisons, several sets of drug monographs are either new or have been amalgamated into single generic monographs, making PCF5 a useful reference for organisations wishing to develop local guidance on management and drug selection of various conditions.


‘Palliative Care Formulary 5th Edition’, editors-in-chief Robert Twycross, Andrew Wilcock, Paul Howard. Ppxxx+847 Price £50. Nottingham: Ltd; 2014. ISBN 9780955254796.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 3/10 January 2015, Vol 294, No 7843/4;294(7843/4):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20067453

You may also be interested in