With over 1151 pages, this is a hard book to open without worrying splitting
the spine, unless you are already taking your Xanax. Drugs are listed by
their technical names, so if you look up Zoloft, you are told to look for
Sertraline. If you are looking for Prozac, you will need to look up Flouxetine.
Not all the brand names are cross-listed in the main body of the book,
but they are in the index at the back. There are 32 pages of photographs
of the medications, which obviously can't include all the drugs listed
in the book, but do contain some of the most popular ones.
The book gives all the information you are likely to need. It is roughly
the same as your pharmacist normally provides in the information sheet
accompanying filled prescriptions. The language used is mostly simple,
accessible to a general readership, although it does also use terms that
will not be familiar to ordinary pill-takers. For example, knowing that
Pindolol is a beta-adrenergic blocking agent will not leave most people
much the wiser. On reading that Quinidine is an antiarrhythmic, you might
spend some time working out how to pronounce the word - why are
there two "r"s in the middle of it?
Sometimes entries include some scientific information. For example,
animal studies on Nimodomine have it can cause fetal malformation. But
this is only included to explain why women who are or might be pregnant
should not take it. Nearly all the information here is highly functional.
If you plan to really educate about the science of the medications you
are or might be taking, you will probably want a more detailed specialized
For those readers, like myself, who are normally in pretty good physical
health and only have to worry about the psychiatric medication you are
taking, this book probably has too much information. I'll probably still
go to a more specialized text the next time I get prescribed a new medication;
my favorite is still Prozac
and the New Antidepressants for antidepressants, and The
Mind/Mood Pill Book is good guide for a wider range of psychotropic
© 2001 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life. He is available to give talks
on many philosophical or controversial issues in mental health.
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