2006 Saunders Nursing Drug Handbook

Reviewed by:


B Hodgson and R Kizir
Saunders (2005)
ISBN: 1-4160-2539-1  1238 pages plus index
RRP: $68.20

This book is authored by an oncology nurse and a pharmacist who have been working together on medication reference guides and drug handbooks since 1981 and therefore have a wealth of experience between them in this field. The book definitely meets the needs of all nurses working in the clinical setting, who are the books intended audience.

The book is easy to navigate, with drugs arranged in alphabetical order using their generic names. At the start of the book there is an IV compatibility chart which is easy to read and interpret. The chart is also part of the book so it will not be lost. This is followed by a list of drugs by disorder and a colour pill atlas. The next section is devoted to drug classification which provides the following details: name, availability, uses, dosage range and side effects. A simple quick reference guide covers classifications of drugs from anaesthetics to vitamins.

The main section of the book is well set out and in a logical order. Each drug has information on its classification, action, pharmacokinetics, uses, precautions including lifespan considerations, interactions (including drug, herbal, food and laboratory values), availability (presentation), administration and handling, indications/routes/dosage, side effects, adverse reactions/toxic effects, nursing considerations. The nursing considerations section is a great prompt for educating patients about their drugs as well as ensuring appropriate interventions are in place.

The final section of the book is dedicated to 17 appendix sections covering such items as calculation of doses, equi-analgesic dosing, herbal therapies and interactions, poison antidote chart and techniques of medication administration. The back cover has some commonly used abbreviations and a dangerous abbreviation list. To complete the package the A – Z of drugs is included on a CD-ROM which is also easy to navigate.

The book contains current information that is easy to read and covers a wide range of drugs and interactions. I find the inclusion of herbal interactions a great addition as many clients do use these medications and this allows us to predict any adverse events ahead of time and look at alternatives.
I highly recommend this book to any oncology nurse or medical officer for a concise yet comprehensive overview of current medications, their actions and interactions. This book will be of benefit on a daily basis.

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