The latest edition of ‘Handbook of drugs in intensive care’ continues to serve the needs of healthcare professionals who work in critical care, providing succinct information in a handy pocket-sized book. Sticking to its previous format, the book is divided into three main sections with the main body of the work given over to information on individual medicines, including uses, limitations, administration directions and adverse effects. The two smaller sections comprise useful notes on various aspects of therapy, and appendices containing a useful range of charts and algorithms. Physically, the entire book is only fractionally larger than the previous edition, but do not let that fool you, it contains concentrated goodness.
The layout is intuitive, providing valuable information in an easily digestible format. The way that it is not necessary to pick out individual pieces of information from large sections of prose is a particular strength of the format. Compared with the previous edition, there are noticeably more entries and the additions are in keeping with the target therapeutic area of the book.
The short notes section provides a convenient resource for pharmacists starting out in critical care. The notes can also be used as an aide memoire for the more experienced practitioner regardless of their healthcare profession. The topics are relevant and concisely written — perfect for quick reference on the ward.
The appendices bring together useful bits of information such as imperial to metric conversions and examples of specific therapy charts to support prescribing practice. I particularly liked the table summarising the sodium content of oral medicines.
Overall, this edition is an improvement on the already excellent title and, for £35, represents great value for money.
‘Handbook of drugs in intensive care, an A-Z guide 5th edition’, by Henry Paw and Rob Shulman. Pp 342 Price £35. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2014. ISBN 978 1 107 48403 0