A Book Review of Antibiotics Simplified . . .
Author: Lindsay Acree, PharmD, AE-C
Corresponding Author: Marco Custodio, PharmD Candidate Class of 2016
Antibiotics Simplified Third Edition provides a practical reference and overview of anti-infective classes for pharmacy students and residents through 6 pathogen-directed sections further divided into 45 concise, reader-friendly chapters. This book is intended to supplement the myriad information taught in pharmacology and pharmacotherapy courses. Compared with other texts on antibiotics, this book is strategically shorter as it may be easily toted as a quick reference guide. The chapters within this book are formatted to include sections that denote agents in the respective class; an introduction; mechanism of action; spectrum; adverse effects; important facts; what they are used for, where agents’ places in therapy are stated; and a “Don’t Forget” section that lists pertinent clinical pearls of the class or agents therein.
Part 1 acts as an introduction to microbiology. Chapter 1 identifies microbes and laboratory tests of interest to healthcare professionals. A flow chart is included as well as a brief, general description of how the tests differentiate various pathogens. Chapters 2,3, and 4 discuss differences between prophylactic, empiric, and definitive therapies; some ADME properties; and pharmacodynamics vocabulary, respectively. This section is ideal for students that are unfamiliar with the topics as they are used throughout the text. Universal tips are provided in order to limit ADRs and resistance in Chapter 5.
Part 2 covers antibacterial drugs in Chapters 6-20. Chapter 6 covers the beta-lactam antibiotics. There are useful graphics utilized to display the spectrums of activity between classes of penicillins as well as between generations of cephalosporins. This chapter touches on some significant ADRs like cross-sensitivity. As a quick reference by class, this part does an exemplary job of noting major ADRs along with some key dosing and bioavailability concerns.
Part 3 details antimycobacterial drugs. Chapter 21 is an introductory section that provides ground knowledge necessary to understand the sites at which these agents act. There are beneficial suggestions provided to alleviate ADRs and Patient concerns throughout this part.
Part 4 discusses antifungal agents. This section also provides valuable classifications of various fungi in the introduction section that allows for generalized terms to be used within the spectrum of action areas. The author continues to take a practical approach by addressing agents that are most commonly used.
Part 5 focuses on antiviral agents. This section has numerous areas in which the author admits that in-depth discussion is omitted as they are beyond the scope of this particular text. There is a website provided to the reader that details current information more completely. This section does, however, offer a general approach to viral diseases complete with ADRs and toxicities associated with select agents.
Part 6 deals with antiparasitic agents. The author does take the time to mention disease states that are resultant from select pathogens in this section. The ADRs are very thorough and well explained. The individual agents are selected out based on whether or not they are preferred therapy to a great extent in this part.
The book offers a great resource for intended readers, but the reader may benefit from a discussion of pathogens and their respective disease states. Many bacteria are mentioned within the spectrum of activity, but their respective conditions are not always explicitly stated. It may be beneficial to move Appendix 3 into its own chapter within Part 1.
Antibiotics Simplified Third Edition would be an excellent supplemental text in two capacities. The text could be used for students prior to infectious disease courses in order to gain familiarity with the material before a more in-depth lecture is provided or as a quick reference guide for students and residents. The text offers sufficient information to act as a refresher, and Appendix 2 succinctly summarizes the teachings of the book in 2 tables that display appropriateness of agents for empiric therapy. This book would benefit students and serves its purported purpose.