Penny Abbott, General practitioner, Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney, and Senior fellow, Department of General Practice, University of Western Sydney

This book has become the most essential desktop clinical tool of this well regarded series. It aims to guide antimicrobial use within both hospital and community settings. It is reassuring with the release of this new edition to know that you are consulting the updated version when you are seeking prescribing advice.

The accessibility of the information is strengthened by the ongoing presentation of concise, evidence-based prescribing advice in a systematic format. This makes the information easily usable within consultations.

Beyond providing immediate advice in unfamiliar prescribing situations, this book usefully discusses some common clinical problems, rewarding a read outside the consultation room. This includes expanded guidance on the management of patients who report penicillin hypersensitivity, and the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza. New recommendations for gentamicin as empirical therapy are another major change in this version.

The book also provides useful summaries of the latest management guidelines of important and diverse conditions, such as when to recommend symptomatic treatment of otitis media rather than antibiotic treatment, and the procedures requiring antibiotics for the prevention of endocarditis.

A change in structure in this edition has led to the removal of some sections which overlapped with other Therapeutic Guidelines editions. Some readers may be disappointed to find that some common gastroenterological, dermatological or respiratory conditions requiring antimicrobial management are no longer included in this book, with the reader being directed to other books in the series.

I recommend this book to busy clinicians, which is just about all of us! It is an essential guide to prescribing antimicrobials, although the electronic version, as part of the complete set, may be necessary to get a more complete coverage of the clinical scenarios the reader will face.