Handbook of Geriatric Drug Therapy for Health Care Professionals. Sumner, Edward D. Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1983, 208 pages, $14.00.
The first 52 pages of this paperback contain seven short introductory chapters on aging. The chapters cover theories of aging, psychosocial aspects, physiology and pharmacokinetics of aging, guidelines for prescribing medications, drug hazards, and compliance issues. Another 150 pages present individual medications with short anecdotes about special dosage and clinical considerations when used for the elderly. The last four-page appendix contains a list of 32 potential problems to monitor when reviewing medications prescribed for the elderly.
The book has sacrificed content to brevity so that the first seven chapters seem to be too general to give enough guidance for clinical use. There are, however, some useful summary tables that could aid the practitioner when seeking a quick review.
The major weakness in the book is that medications mentioned in the first section as needing alteration for the elderly are then missing when presentation of the drugs occur.j The most noticeable is ibuprofen which is noted as the third most common drug taken by the elderly.
Due to the book's brevity, it may serve the nurse clinician as a "handbook" as the title indicates, but should not be used as a major reference source. The book's usefulness would be as an adjunct to a more comprehensive pharmacological text and as an introduction to some of the issues in medication use for the aged. In addition, the extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter would serve for more detailed information when needed.