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The retinoid literature is voluminous, and there are a number of authoritative multiauthor reviews of the basic science (volumes 189 and 190 of Methods in Enzymology, published in 1990) and clinical aspects (Retinoids: 10 Years On, New York, NY, S Karger AG, 1991) of retinoid biology. Therefore, I picked up Korem's book, which uniquely addresses the clinical dilemma of the risk-benefit ratio for retinoid use, with great anticipation.
One chapter addresses the clinical efficacy of retinoids, and 10 deal with the risk of retinoids to the fetus from the perspectives of embryopathies; pharmokinetics; and social issues such as pregnancy prevention, contraceptive failure, counseling women on teratogenic risk, and marketing a teratogen. The chapter by Rosa was particularly informative, containing much previously unpublished epidemiologic data and thoughtful considerations of the risks of topical retinoids and vitamin A itself. Unfortunately, the sole chapter on benefits is uncritically encyclopedic, dated (the most