Prescribers probably find Martindale1 the most useful reference book on drugs. Its monographs cover virtually all the medicinal preparations available in Britain, and the substances present in them. It also includes details of many preparations used in other countries. The new edition should help doctors even more than its predecessors because it gives fuller information on actions, absorption and fate, uses, precautions and toxic effects. This information is concisely summarised in each monograph and followed by abstracts from published papers and reviews. These abstracts state the findings and opinions of the original authors, usually without comment, and must be judged critically. Lack of abstracts on therapeutic use can be taken to indicate a dearth of reliable information about the drug concerned. The price is high, but for thoughtful prescribers it is well worth it.
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