Community pharmacy: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Rutter P, Newby D.
Australia and New Zealand edition 2nd edition
Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Australia; 2011.
360 pages
Price: $115

This is a book on pharmacy primary care written in the context of Australian and New Zealand practice. Topics covered include common respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, ophthalmology and otic conditions, skin conditions, soft tissue injury, women’s health and common conditions affecting paediatrics. There is an introductory chapter on communication skills and patient assessment.

Each chapter is well presented starting with the prevalence, aetiology, signs and symptoms of the conditions, followed by questions to ask in patient assessment, treatment options, contraindications to these treatments, and general self-management advice. There is a reference section at the end of each chapter if you decide to probe further into the topics. This book also has a good chapter on the supply of emergency contraception, motion sickness medications, nicotine replacement therapy, and weight loss products. The authors also incorporate a range of up-to-date evidence for the various treatments from the Cochrane Collaboration, Australian Medicines Handbook, Medicines Safety Update (formerly the ADRAC Bulletin), Therapeutic Guidelines, Food and Drug Administration and from research publications. Some information is inconsistent with other resources. An example of this is the advice to avoid the use of applicators in the treatment of vaginal thrush in pregnant women even though the Australian Medicines Handbook 2012 states that vaginal applicators may be used with care in pregnancy. Another example is the recommendation on threadworm treatment where all family members of an infected person need to be treated at the same time. The Australian Medicines Handbook states that treatment of other family members is only necessary if infection is not eradicated.

Overall, this book is a great reference in the pharmacy. It could be a useful textbook for pharmacy students if you are after a concise compilation of essential information on a range of primary health conditions manageable in a pharmacy.

Ya Ping Lee

Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Science, Curtin University, Perth