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Book review

How drugs work: basic pharmacology for healthcare professionals

Concise information and good value for money

How drugs work: basic pharmacology for healthcare professionals’ 3rd edition, by Hugh McGavock. Pp ix+193 Price £24.99. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2013. ISBN 978 1 84619 478 8

How drugs work: basic pharmacology for healthcare professionals’ 3rd edition, by Hugh McGavock. Pp ix+193 Price £24.99. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2013. ISBN 978 1 84619 478 8

This third edition is a concise handbook of pharmacology, covering background knowledge and know-how of drug action in the human body. The first 10 chapters introduce the pharmacokinetic aspects of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (chapters 1 to 5), followed by an outline of the different targets for a drug’s pharmacological activity (chapter 9), elaborating on the role and types of receptors (chapters 6 & 7), binding to enzymes (chapter 8) and drug effect on calcium ion channels (chapter 10). Chapters 11 to 21 focus on the mode of pharmacological activity of drugs acting on the central nervous system. Chapters 22 to 28 cover topics of current importance, including prescribing for the elderly, patient compliance, and the rationale for and prevention of adverse drug reactions.

Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals could find the book to be a valuable reference tool in their daily practice, especially as an adjunct to the British National Formulary. Indeed, there are several referrals to the BNF throughout the book. The author is highlighting the importance of informed prescribing and the necessity to avoid prescribing errors by acquiring a better understanding of drug action.

The main strength of the book is that the text is supported well by schematic diagrams, illustrations and summary tables. The outline of key points and further reading sources at the end of each chapter render the book student-friendly. It is a value-for-money introductory textbook in pharmacology for pharmacy and other healthcare students.

How drugs work: basic pharmacology for healthcare professionals’ 3rd edition, by Hugh McGavock. Pp ix+193 Price £24.99. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2013. ISBN 978 1 84619 478 8

 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11137502

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