AMA DRUG EVALUATIONS. Second Edition, Prepared by the AMA Department of Drugs, Acton, Mass.: Publishing Sciences Group, Inc., 1973. 1032 pp., $22.00 institutions and non- AMA members, $16.50 AMA members and students.
This second edition of Drug Evaluations, published under the aegis of the former Council on Drugs, is a particularly useful volume. Casebound rather than paperback, its format changed and structural formulae included wherever possible, it is an invaluable source of information for those who have anything to do with the dispensing of drugs.
Apparently this was one of the last works of the Council on Drugs, and it contains several new features. Drugs are indexed by trade names as well as generic names; the style of the work is more conventional and this makes it easier to read.
With the legislative climate as it is, and the dither about drugs as it has been for the last several years, the wonder is that such a satisfactory work could be compiled. Even as it is, legislation and rules have changed so rapidly since the last edition that the volume describes some drugs which since have been interdicted by the FDA and as a consequence are no longer obtainable. That same climate and some indecision make both manufacturers and physicians who use the drugs more wary, and thus this volume becomes even more important. It supplies some information which may not be found in the package insert.
As in the previous volume, this edition has been organized into sections based on therapeutic classification. Following an introductory statement in each chapter which covers the therapeutic category, single drugs and mixtures commonly prescribed are described irrespective of their status in approved labeling in the "package insert." The principal purpose of the volume, the writers state, is "to provide the medical profession with an evaluation of selected drugs based on available evidence." The evaluations, it continues, may be favorable or unfavorable or a combination of both depending on the merits of the preparation. The physician himself is left to determine the relevancy of the limitations, adverse reactions, contraindications, or precautions given in the text.
Several hundred consultants took part in the compilation of the volume, and among the reference works this one might be considered indispensable.