The Handbook of Critical Care Drug Therapy was originally developed because of the complexity of critical care medicine. Remembering the drugs of choice for arrhythmias, infections, electrolyte emergencies, sedation, poisonings, and a host of other problems has always been daunting. With new drugs and increasingly complex patients, the tasks of choosing the proper drug and selecting the proper dose and dilution are even more challenging.
The third edition of The Handbook of Critical Care Drug Therapy continues to be a quick reference for drug therapy and ideally should be used when rapid decisions need to be made, before more extensive information can be obtained. It is not a textbook and should not substitute for more detailed descriptions regarding how to manage specific syndromes. Also, it should not be used in the absence of clinical judgment: its recommendations are general and must be considered in light of a patient's specific circumstances.
In this era of computer access, we continue to find a hard copy book to be an essential element in the deep pockets of our white coats, along with our stethoscopes. This handbook can be accessed from a handheld device, but when quickly writing orders, scanning a hard copy can still be quick and useful.
There are three basic types of tables in this book: (a) tables that list disease entities and indicate therapies of choice; (b) tables that list drugs and highlight their indications, advantages, and disadvantages; and (c) three appendices that provide information on how to mix and administer parenteral drugs, how to convert intravenous medications to equivalent oral doses, and guidelines for dosing oral drugs commonly prescribed for critically ill patients.
Generic drug names are used throughout the book. However, every drug is listed in the index both by generic and brand names so that reference to the appropriate tables and pages can be made regardless of which drug name the clinician is familiar with.
This work represents the clinical experience of the authors in the Critical Care Medicine Department at the National Institutes of Health, in critical care units at other hospitals in the WashingtonÑÐÐ£Baltimore area, and at institutions where staff members have been recruited for leadership positions. The authors of this book are physicians with board certification in critical care medicine, pulmonary medicine, cardiology, infectious diseases, anesthesiology, and allergy/immunology, supplemented by an extraordinarily knowledgeable and versatile critical care pharmacist.
We hope that the content and organization of this book prove useful for care providers from a wide variety of specialties and backgrounds who care for hospitalized patients, especially those in medical, surgical, and neurological critical care units.