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January 16, 1978

Psychopharmacology in the Practice of Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Medical Center Ann Arbor


edited by Murray E. Jarvik, 553 pp, with illus, $20.50, New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1977.

JAMA. 1978;239(3):242. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280300074034

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Nonpsychiatric practitioners currently prescribe most of the 200 million psychotropics dispensed yearly in America. Neuroleptics, tranquilizers, sedatives, hypnotics, antidepressants, stimulants, and even antimanic medications such as lithium carbonate have become routine components of treatment programs for many medical practitioners. Unfortunately, objective assessments repeatedly suggest that prescriptions for psychotherapeutics are often not needed, contraindicated, stopped too soon, continued too long, given in dosages that are inadequate or excessive, prescribed in unnecessary combinations that confuse outcome evaluations, ordered simultaneously with other drugs producing undesirable interactions, not given in the most economical form or at times most likely to guarantee compliance, and on occasion not prescribed at all when they are the treatment of choice. For these reasons, any text that clarifies psychopharmacological principles for medical practitioners is a valuable addition. This text addresses this need. It succeeds commendably.

Psychopharmacology in the Practice of Medicine is a collection of 35 chapters written by