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Book review

Drugs for Bugs. PD Baker, CT Hoey, BA Lipsky. Lippincot Williams & Wilkins 2003. ISBN 0-7817-4197-1. 212 pp, $12.95 (www.LWW.com).

This is a small, palm-sized book written as a guide to outpatient antimicrobial treatment in a US context. The idea is to allow clinicians to find appropriate antibiotic therapy for common disorders quickly, and with information on contraindications, adverse effects and dosing. It starts at the head and goes down to the feet.

What is good is that it succeeds in what it aims to do. Additionally, it tells us in the preface that its recommendations are as evidence-based as possible, though it does not give the references to save space.

Because of the US base of the authors (in and around Puget Sound in Washington State), for a British audience there will be a few important differences. For instance, co-trimoxazole is not frequently used in the UK, though recommended in this book for dog bites. Similarly, mupirocin is recommended for impetigo, though resistance to this is increasing in the UK.

For some who want to know more, the absence of references will be a difficulty. Pity the authors could not have put these up on an Internet site, for instance. Nor is antibiotic resistance covered, and some hints in a small section might have been helpful. And there will be places around the world where meningitis might be seen as worth a mention in a book even for outpatient use. A universal treatise with all references would be a tome, though, not a palm-sized ready helper. You just can't have everything.

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