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Best evidence

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7102p969
June 24, 2000 Reviews

Books

Best evidence

'Clinical evidence: a compendium of the best available evidence for effective health care', edited by the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine. Pp xv + 598. Price £45. London: BMJ Publishing Group, 1999. ISBN 0 7279 1364 6.

This book is a six-monthly, updated compendium of evidence on the effects of common clinical interventions. It aims to be question-driven rather than data-driven and to highlight absence of evidence whenever this is the case. In the words of the editors, it aims to "supply the evidence" for you to "make the decisions". However, the entries do classify interventions as: "beneficial", "likely to be beneficial", "unknown effectiveness" and "likely to be ineffective or harmful".
The size and format of the book suggests that the publishers view it as a companion to the British National Formulary. In my view, 'Clinical evidence' has a long way to go before putting a credible challenge for shelf or pocket space with the latter. The BNF is far superior in terms of both coverage and ease of information retrieval. I found ?Clinical evidence' generally verbose and non-specific. For detailed information, the Cochrane Library would be my preferred source.
Would I subscribe to 'Clinical evidence'? No, not in its current format and state. I would revisit it, perhaps, in a year's time. The idea is good but the content fails to match.

Reviewer - pharmaceutics and director of the centre for evidence-based pharmacotherapy at Aston University, Birmingham.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20001999

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