Basic Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, an Integrated Textbook and Computer Simulations . Sara E. Rosenbaum . Published by John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ , 2011 . 430 pp., illustrated, price $59.95, ISBN : 978-0-470-56906-1 (cloth)

This book covers the basics of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and linked pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic systems. The book is covered in 17 chapters and six appendices. Chapters 3–13 and 15–17 provide problems that the reader can work through. Chapters 2, 7–9 and 11–17 have a companion set of simulation exercises that are available on the Faculty of Pharmacy's website at the University of Rhode Island.

Sara Rosenbaum attempts to pull together the individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that explains the dosing regimen. Understanding the dosing regimen requires an understanding of the time course of drug effects: How quickly do drugs act? How long do the effects last? What extent of effect might occur? Will the effects be the same on every dose? What dose and dose interval will be optimal to meet therapeutic needs? These topics are covered in 17 chapters. Chapter 1 starts with a simple explanation of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, which leads onto sections on biopharmaceutics and basic pharmacokinetics, pharmacokinetic models and integrated pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic models. Despite increasing complexity as the reader progresses through the book, the author brings the concepts back to their defining routes and no fundamental aspects are glossed over. The writing style is informative while being relaxed in its approach and where possible jargon terms are kept to a minimum. Each chapter starts with a set of learning objectives and follows with exercises that test those learning objectives (note answers are not provided). In many chapters a fully integrated approach is used where the reader is introduced to the topic and models, followed by an online simulation exercise which is then succeeded by an explanation and this cycle is continued often several times during the chapter. Formulae which are used from previous chapters are usually revisited to remind the reader about their structure and use.

The book claims to offer a basic overview of pharmacokinetics and pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic systems. While in some sense the author has kept to this promise, readers should not be complacent about the content. This book covers topics that provide the underpinnings of much of the advanced research in the area of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Graduate students would do well to familiarize themselves with its content. Whether the book achieves its aim of being an introductory textbook suitable for accompanying courses in pharmacy and medicine is unclear. Certainly for many medicine and pharmacy courses the material covered in this book greatly exceeds the general curriculum which often does not move beyond consideration of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics as independent entities. Most introductory books in this area shy away from considering the fully integrated approach required to understand the time course of drug effects. This puts this book a head and shoulders above its companions.

Could the book be improved? Like many attempts to link the areas of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics within a confined space it does so partly at the cost of the fully integrated pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic models. A little more than one chapter in this book is dedicated to integrated pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic models (part of chapter 16 and all of chapter 17). This is also, arguably, the most complex part of the jigsaw puzzle where time delays in drug effects, tolerance and disease progression models are covered. Understandably the topic must be pulled to a close at some stage, and it is noted that there is no coverage of schedule dependence nor is there consideration for non-continuous pharmacodynamic measures. I hope that Sara Rosenbaum is considering a next edition where she might expand chapter 17 into the much needed additional chapters to do greater justice to those areas of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics that have difficulty squeezing into a single chapter.

In summary, I believe that this book is successful in what it sets out to do. For those readers who are interested in getting to grips with the basics of the time course of onset, offset and extent of drug effects then this is the book for you. I am certainly recommending this book for my graduate students.

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There are no competing interests to declare.