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Comprehensive drug reference resource

This new edition of the popular drug reference includes oncology drugs approved under the US Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval programme.

Book cover of 'AHFS drug information 2017'

‘AHFS drug information 2017’, editor-in-chief Gerald K. McEvoy. Pp xvi+3823. Price £316. Maryland: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; 2017. ISBN 978 1 58528 558 7

This book was first published in 1959. It has its roots in the American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS). It is the longest running official drug compendium published in the United States by a scientific and professional society. It set out to provide an evidence-based foundation for safe and effective drug therapy and is widely trusted for its established record in refuting unfounded efficacy claims, for its rigorous science-based editorial process and for its independence from the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

More than 500 professionals are involved in the review process and the information is derived from over 89,000 references. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has continued to build on this foundation with this edition offering a resource that focuses on essential evidence-based information that allows pharmacists, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers to access quickly and easily, the specific guidance needed to prescribe and monitor drug therapy safely and effectively.

‘AHFS drug information 2017’ is a collection of drug monographs, expanded and revised from the previous edition, on almost every single drug entity available in the United States. Important updated monographs and references relate to therapeutic guidelines for advanced cardiovascular life support in adults and children and treatment of heart failure in adults. Newly published information on breakthrough oncology drugs approved as part of the US Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval programme are included.

Drug monographs are arranged by the AHFS Pharmacologic-Therapeutic Classification. Each monograph provides information that is critical at the point of care. It contains a concise overview of the drug’s uses (both labelled and off-label) and an easily navigated list of doses specific to each use, age group, route of administration and special population (e.g. patients with hepatic or renal impairment). Important cautionary information follows a structured outline, with numerous subdivisions to help the reader in locating specific contraindications, warnings, sensitivity alerts, age and condition specific precautions, safety in pregnancy and in breast-feeding women, the most common and serious adverse effects and drug interactions. An overview of the drug’s pharmacological actions and effects, as well as key pharmacokinetic characteristics is also included.

Each monograph is organised so that the most clinically relevant and frequently sought information appears at the beginning.

One minor drawback is its soft backed cover with flimsy pages that are likely to become easily damaged with constant use. It is, however, an easy to use and valuable reference source.

Laurence A Goldberg

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202569

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