Melbourne:Therapeutic Guidelines Limited; 2003.
Ian Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide

It is an interesting experience to be asked to review a book that you have used previously. I have used earlier versions of this small book as a reference to look up specific details. I have now read this version in detail and am impressed with the depth and extent of coverage.

Any book discussing psychotropic medication has to determine how it will include non-pharmacological treatments that form such an important part of the treatment of mental health problems. Therapeutic Guidelines: Psychotropic takes the straightforward approach of indicating the importance of psychotherapy, but does not try to become a textbook of all possible treatment modalities. This works very well.

As an urban general practitioner with a special interest in mental health problems, I know and respect the sections on the use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. Detailed reading of these sections produced some new elements of knowledge, such as the potential of nefazodone to cause hepatic damage. The sections on atypical antipsychotic medication impressed me. This is an area where general practitioners are being asked to take a more active role.

The section on behavioural emergencies was new to me and I not only found it very educational, but was left wishing it had been available when I was in rural practice.

The index works well and enabled me to check prescribing for a number of difficult patients. The only area of deficiency in this book is the lack of a section dealing with the complex comorbidities seen in general practice. It is the patients on multiple psychotropic medications, who also abuse alcohol or drugs and are pregnant, that tax the practitioner and any textbook.

This book should be in the library of, and used by, any doctor who prescribes psychotropic medication. It would also be valuable to medical students and non-medical staff involved in treating patients with mental health problems.