Peter D. Jones, Associate Professor of Health, The University of Newcastle, Director, University Department of Rural Health, Northern NSW, Tamworth, and Chair of the Specialist Advisory Committee for General Paediatrics, Royal Australasian College of Physicians

The book is available in three formats. (Prices include GST but not postage.)

– Paediatric Pharmacopoeia, 13th ed. $49.50
– Paediatric Pharmacopoeia- Pocket Prescriber, 1st ed. $9.90
– Paediatric Pharmacopoeia e-book. $99

– 3-set package, one copy of each. $143

The three versions of Paediatric Pharmacopoeia make up an excellent resource to help with the prescribing of drugs to children. They are published by the Pharmacy Department of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. In their current format they are very useful references for doctors treating children in hospital or emergency department settings.

The Pocket Prescriber appears to be a new publication. It offers an alternative to Frank Shann's Drug Doses1,which is the current booklet used in hospitals throughout the country to help calculate doses in children. The Pocket Prescriber is a larger, heavier and more expensive booklet than Drug Doses (86 mm wide versus 72 mm wide, 100 g versus 50 g, $9.90versus $6.50), but still fits into the top pocket of my standard business shirt. It is filled with excellent information and it is good to see the antibiotic guidelines in the booklet. It is well presented with a much sturdierred cover than Drug Doses and I think its slight increase in size and weight means that it will be less easy to lose on the wards. This booklet should be an essential piece of equipment for all doctors working with children in a hospital setting. Hospitals should ensure that staff who prescribe and administer drugs to children have a copy of this book and refer to it frequently because I am certain that it could lead to fewer prescribing errors in hospital care.

The Paediatric Pharmacopoeia, 13th edition, is another very useful little book that contains some extra information and specific warnings about each drug. The e-book is easy to navigate and has the most potential to be a useful resource for general practitioners and paediatricians who are prescribing for children in the community. It is easy to find the immunisation schedule, and with time the guidelines may start to have more relevance to community-based rather than hospital-based care. The e-book does contain information about the presentation options of particular drugs (i.e. tablet and mixture strength) and the different trade names available in Australia. I believe the e-book could be improved by including information regarding Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescriptions to make this package of resources more applicable to doctors working outside the hospital setting.


  1. Shann F. Drug Doses. Parkville, Victoria: Royal Children's Hospital; 2001.