Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic is a concise and convenient guide and useful in both clinic and inpatient settings. The new version has many helpful features that make it a must-have

The guidelines begin with brief chapters on appropriate prescribing, optimising therapy, and commonly prescribed classes of antibiotics. The book provides guidance on prophylaxis for surgical, medical, obstetric and immunocompromised patients. The presence of highlighted important information and comprehensive tables makes information easy to find and process. The footnotes are useful and include drug precautions, interactions and further reading.

Chapters are allocated by system, making it easy to locate pathology of interest and differential diagnoses. The guidelines give an up-to-date and useful outline of indications for antibiotic use, pathogens, investigations and non-antibiotic therapy. The occasional management flow diagrams also help to show key management steps. Special populations such as aged-care residents, immunocompromised patients and children are covered.

There are chapters on malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, schistosomiasis and other less commonly seen conditions in Australia. Perhaps having a chapter dedicated to infections in the returned traveller would make this information easier to locate.

The final chapters on outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy, aminoglycoside use and monitoring, and antibiotic desensitisation protocols are probably more useful to infectious disease specialists than to GPs. The concise reference tables with the Therapeutic Goods Administration categorisation in pregnancy and compatibility with breastfeeding are handy. The section on renal impairment gives a guide on dosage adjustment based on the estimated glomerular filtration rate and doses for the different modes of dialysis.

In short the book is an up-to-date and easy-to-read guide that has transitioned many a junior medical officer to independent practice. It provides resources for generalist and specialist audiences and is well worth the read.