Pavilion Health Today
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Book review: The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry 14th Edition

Dr Harry Brown reviews the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry 14th Edition, which is useful for every psychiatrist or healthcare professional who prescribes medication for mental health conditions.


The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry 14th Edition

David Taylor, Thomas Barnes and Allan Young

Published by Wiley Blackwell

ISBN 978-1-119-77222-4

Price: £58.95

The Maudsley Hospital is a famous and respected institution. It was first opened in 1915, initially as a military hospital and then in 1923 as a psychiatric hospital, so it is well placed to publish a psychiatry prescribing book.

Psychiatry is far more than just prescribing medication, but mental health conditions sometimes merit pharmacological intervention and this is where this book comes into its own. I think every psychiatrist or healthcare professional who prescribes medication for mental health conditions, ideally, should have access to this outstanding book.

With 956 pages, including the index, it is highly detailed but clinically focussed and makes a superb reference source,  It appears to cover a huge number of clinical situations in all age groups. Chapter 5 deals with drug treatment of children and adolescents and chapter 6 covers prescribing in older people. Chapter 7 deals with pregnancy and breast feeding.

In addition, sections of the book offer reassuring and measured advice on specific situations where the reader may have little experience or knowledge. For example, starting from page 667, there are four pages on covert administration of medication, with some measured comments and text. This is also illustrated with a most useful flow chart.

Another superb section is on page 883 and covers a more common problem, namely driving and psychotropic medication. Specifically mentioned is UK law and General Medical Council guidelines. This relatively short section is a must read and ideally all prescribers of psychotropic medicines should be aware of the issues mentioned in this section.

Of course, this book also deals with pharmacological principles such as chapter 11 on pharmacokinetics. Yet, it is the practical prescribing that neatly rounds off the excellence of this book. A good example of this is on page 829 with a short piece on prescribing issues at the end of life in people with psychiatric illness. I have not seen this specific issue discussed elsewhere.

This book exudes excellence and would make a wonderful reference source both in a primary care and specialist services. It is a shame that it does not come with an electronic footprint, such as an ebook for a smartphone or web access to the content with the purchase price of the book. As having access to these facilities on a front-line situation would be very useful for a healthcare professional seeking urgent advice about prescribing in a patient with a mental health problem.

The book is keenly priced for both quality and quantity and I would hope this book reaches a wide audience. It deserves it and I am sure many healthcare professionals would feel reassured that they have access to such a reference source which would enable a practitioner to practice high quality medicine when prescribing in a mental health situation.

Dr Harry Brown is a retired GP, Leeds and Medical Editor of Pavilion Health Today


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