Publication: Journal of the Medical Library Association
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 67341
ISSN: 15365050
Journal code: JMLA

Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference. 37th ed. Edited by Sean C. Sweetman. London, England, UK: Pharmaceutical Press; 2011. 4,142 p. $599.00. ISBN: 978-085369-933-0.

The 37th edition of Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference, in 2 volumes, continues to build on previous editions, going back to the first in 1883. The beauty of this work is that it remains, edition after edition, the most stupendously comprehensive work in its field. To provide more up-to-date information, the interval between print editions has been reduced over successive editions, and the book is now produced about every two years.

Volume A contains 5,930 drug monographs arranged in 49 chapters. The introductions of these chapters that describe drugs used in the management of disease may contain disease treatment reviews to assist with choosing the best course of treatment. The final chapter in this volume consists of a series of monographs on drugs not easily classified, on herbals, and on drugs no longer used clinically but still of interest. There are also monographs on toxic substances, the effects of which may require drug therapy.

Volume B holds more than 161,700 proprietary preparations from a range of countries and regions, plus a directory of manufacturers containing 15,300 entries. Included here is the index of multhingual pharmaceutical terms, in 13 languages, listing 5,600 for the more common pharmaceutical forms and routes. The 172,000 entries in the exhaustive general index included here afford the reader the fullest use of this edition. Finally, the Cyrillic index lists nonproprietary and proprietary names alphabetically in Russian.

With each new edition, all entries have been extensively revised and revalidated by a team of experienced pharmacists, and the 37th edition is no exception. More than 240 monographs have been added, and 171 removed. In the publisher's continuing attempts to improve the usefulness of the book, the chapters on coloring agents, nonionic surfactants, organic solvents, paraffins and similar bases, soaps and other anionic surfactants, and stabilizing and suspending agents have been amalgamated, and with additional material, now form the new chapter, "Pharmaceutical Excipients."

The disease treatment reviews, 675 in all, located in the chapter introductions, have also been revised to reflect current trends and provide key references. Cross-references to these reviews appear in the monographs of the cited drugs. The reviews can also be accessed via the general index.

Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference contains much nomenclature information intended to assist the reader in identifying a particular drug or compound, and for this edition, the publisher again greatly expanded coverage of synonyms with increased coverage of Russian synonyms and "street names" for substances of abuse. Coverage of Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification codes has been expanded to include codes for herbal medicines. This is the first edition to also carry the Unique Ingrethent Identifiers (UNIIs) that are generated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Substance Registration System. The number of graphs depicting chemical structures has also increased.

The information on proprietary preparations, an important feature of this edition, has been updated, and the number of countries covered has increased. Homeopathic proprietary preparations have also been listed at the end of the relevant monographs, according to their ingrethents.

Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference is not a book of standards. Inclusion of a substance or a preparation is not to be considered a recommendation for use, nor does it confer any status on the substance or preparation.

The uses of Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference are varied. The publisher has succeeded in three ways. First, this work summarizes clinically useful information on all drugs and medicines around the world. Second, it provides accurate, unbiased, reasonably comprehensive, and regularly reevaluated information in a concise format. Third, the information contained therein is evidence based.

Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference weighs in at eleven pounds and is well worth its weight in gold. The reference is a tried-and-true tool of absolute value in an academic health sciences library, hospital library, clinic library, clinical practice private library, pharmacy, and physician's office. Even students could benefit greatly by owning this.

Author affiliation:

Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHlP,, Rainier, OR

DOl: -5050.100.1.018

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