Ophthalmic Drug Facts 23rd Edition

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Ophthalmic Drug Facts 23rd Edition , Jimmy D Bartlett (Ed) , Philadelphia : Wolters Kluwer Health , 2011 , 497 pages , RRP $100.10 , Reviewed by : GENEVIEVE NAPPER , Ocular Disease Services, Australian College of Optometry, Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Ophthalmic Drug Facts is now in its 23rd edition and is described by its editors as having a mission to provide ‘reliable and objective ophthalmic drug information to facilitate therapeutic decision making  . . . and to promote efficient, quality eye health care’. The editor is the well-known therapeutic optometrist and textbook author Dr Jimmy Bartlett, who is Professor of Optometry in the School of Optometry and Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the USA. He is assisted by an editorial panel of clinicians and researchers from optometry, ophthalmology and pharmacology, including: Dr Edward Bennett, Dr Richard Fiscella, Dr Siret Jaanus and Dr Tony Realini. The book aims to be a useful daily practice reference for students and eye-care practitioners, including ophthalmologists, optometrists and pharmacists.

The particular strength of this book is the clear and concise organisation. A full range of drug groups and classes is discussed: ophthalmic dyes, local anaesthetics, mydriatics and cycloplegics, anti-allergy and decongestant agents, anti-inflammatory agents, artificial tear solutions and ocular lubricants, anti-infective agents, ocular hypotensive agents, hyperosmotic agents, surgical adjuncts, agents for retinal disease and contact lens care. Each chapter contains several useful summary tables but there are few pictures or diagrams and the formatting is fairly plain. The remaining chapters provide very useful information on a number of related topics: Dosage Forms and Routes of Administration, Extemporaneous Preparations, Systemic Drugs Affecting the Eye, Systemic Medications Used for Ocular Conditions. There are two appendices: ‘Orphan Drugs’ and ‘Manufacturer and Distributor Information’ (for the USA) and a comprehensive index. Chapter 1 is a very useful overview of dosage forms and routes of administration and covers different types of older and newer preservatives, buffering agents and viscosity-increasing agents. Different types of preparations are also described, including solutions and suspensions, emulsions, ointments, gels and sprays and devices for drug delivery.

The chapters covering drug groups include excellent chapter introductions providing information about the mechanism of action of drugs in each therapeutic class and general treatment guidelines. There is also a selected bibliography at the end of each chapter. Prescribing information for each drug is divided into the following sections: actions, indications, contraindications, warnings and precautions, drug interactions, adverse reactions, overdosage, patient information, administration and dosage. This follows a similar format to publications, such as MIMS or the Australian Medicines Handbook but is more readable. The editors state that the emphasis of the text is on drug action and current availability rather than pathophysiology of disease states. This is a point of difference from the numerous ocular disease and therapeutics textbooks available, including Onefrey's Ocular Therapeutics Handbook and Bartlett and Jaanus' Clinical Ocular Pharmacology, which cover disease conditions in more detail.

Ophthalmic Drug Facts covers drugs available in the USA; however, used in conjunction with a local guide to available medications (for example, MIMS or the Australian Medicines Handbook for Australian readers), it is still an excellent reference for practitioners outside the USA. Generic names and classes of drugs are the same in all countries and the general information about the drugs and their uses for ocular conditions makes this book a highly useful resource for all therapeutic eye-care practitioners.