Side Effects in Dermatology
Mulder WMC, Meinardi MMHM, Bruynzeel DP: Side Effects in Dermatology. The File of Adverse Reactions of Medicines [FARM], 9th edition. International Medical Publishers b.v., Naarden 2009. 148 pages.
Cutaneous adverse drug reactions (CADR) are the most spectacular and, at the same time, probably the least understood side effects of pharmacotherapy. With ever-growing consumption of both prescription and OTC drugs, polytherapy, and ageing of the society, we can expect that the problem will also grow in the future. Therefore, a good and up-to-date reference source on CADR is much welcome in every dermatologist's and allergist's practice. The 9th edition of the Side Effects in Dermatology appeared in 2009, and continues a tradition that dates back to 1973. The plastic cover was probably invented to avoid a too rapid wear of the booklet. And rightly so, as this reference source will be certainly used by a dermatologist or allergist on an everyday basis.
For the daily doctor's work, most relevant will be the alphabetic listing of drugs with reported CADR. A following encyclopaedic description of clinical features of various drug-induced skin reaction is a good introduction for students and trainees, or a refresher for the old hand specialists. For future editions, I suggest the Editors to remove the list of references from the paper version. Undoubtedly, references are the foundation of a scientific monograph, however, these could be made available online and then perhaps in a user-friendly, expanded version with full-length citations and links to PubMed abstracts. The references in short form are hardly helpful (no title), yet still they occupy 25% of the booklet's volume. In a practical work like this, the size and weight really matters - in a doctor's pocket, but also on the desk or even the bookshelf. In the introductory remarks, the publisher also mentions an electronic form of the publication, and a File of Adverse Reaction of Medicines (FARM) database. From this statement, one would expect that there be some online database available related to the book. Unfortunately, I have not found any more information regarding the database neither in the book, nor on the publisher's website.
Despite these minor flaws, this is altogether an excellent and reliable reference source. Since receiving my copy of the book, I have used it in my office along with two other books on the same topic. Quite rapidly, I found it most convenient to start my queries with this new book, and consult the other ones only if a second reference seemed necessary. The first reason for this preference was the clear organisation of the book, which enables a quick finding of the necessary information. The second reason is the completeness - during the period of use, I have noticed only a few side effect to certain drugs that were not mentioned in the Side Effects in Dermatology, yet could be found in the two other reference books that I use. This experience demonstrates the quality and completeness of the data collected in this book. Certainly, with new drugs appearing on the market, a next, updated edition will be necessary soon. The third reason (a less serious indeed) for my preference was the fire truck-red cover of the new book that makes it easy to find on the busy doctor's desk.
Among all reference sources on cutaneous adverse drug reactions, this tiny book certainly stands out in quality and should be recommended to every practical dermatologist and allergist. I liked this booklet from the very first usage and haven't changed my opinion after several months of use.
Dr habil. med. Radoslaw Spiewak
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Document created: 13 August 2010, last updated: 14 August 2010.