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Poisoning & Toxicology Handbook, Third Edition FREE TO VIEW

Matthew D. Reed, PhD, DABT
Chest. 2005;127(3):1081. doi:10.1378/chest.127.3.1081
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Jerrold Blair Leikin, Frank P. Paloucek

Hudson, OH: Lexi-Comp, 2002; 1553 pp; $39.95

Ahhh, the telephone book, the source of all information: Who to call? What to buy? Where to go? How to get there? You will find national, local, state, and government offices and other tidbits on daily life in the front; the residential listings are in the middle; while the businesses have their say toward the back. So it is with Leikin and Paloucek’s Poisoning & Toxicology Handbook, Third Edition, a compact, comprehensive “directory” of medical toxicology that practically cries out, “Let your fingers do the walking through the ‘phone book’ of medical toxicology!”

Drs. Jerrold Leikin and Frank Paloucek certainly possess the expertise to point you “where you need to be.” Both authors have a wealth of experience in the field of clinical and medicinal toxicology and retain an equally qualified contributing staff and editorial advisory panel of > 40 clinicians and researchers (ie, these guys are good!). The text references 683 medicinal agents, 317 nonmedicinal agents, 274 biological agents, 254 diagnostic tests and procedures, and 79 antidotes for various toxicants, all in a compact package smaller than the “white pages” of an average city.

The front section of the book is comparable to the “blue pages” of a telephone book, with general information for the prevention of poisonings, including safe prescription notation. There is also a “who’s who” of contacts for national, state, and local poison control centers, followed by a series of informative reports on patient presentations of toxicity, antidotes, biological agents (mostly plants and fungi), testing procedures, drugs of abuse, herbal agents, techniques for decontaminating the GI tract, and other chemicals. Much like the rendition of police, fire, and hospital services in the blue pages, most of these listings are reprints of pertinent information published in several other (scientific) venues. All are directly applicable to medical toxicology, but as such may have been more informative if summarized for this text by the original authors. The major convenience (as in the telephone book) is having it all in one place; no running to the library for these articles and reports—they are all nearby.

Similar to the residential listings in the white pages of the telephone book, the bulk of the text of the Third Edition contains alphabetical references to specific agents, laid out in a physician’s desk reference-like format and containing everything from trade and generic names, to toxicokinetic and pharmacokinetic profiles, to treatment, signs, symptoms, and prognoses. Although lacking volumes of detail on any one aspect, “the facts” are there for finding the rest of the information. In the Preface, the authors acknowledge these limitations and make no claim that the Third Edition is a complete reference text.

You cannot complete any good telephone directory without a business listing. The Appendix of the Third Edition is an alphabetical list of nearly everything a clinician needs to know (in brief, generally tabular form) about toxicology. It really is a hodgepodge of facts and figures in an alphabetical format. All good information if you know where you want to shop; it is definitely not the “yellow pages,” however.

All in all, the Third Edition is a good reference for the clinician, medical student, and general toxicologist. The wealth of information is, for example, ideal for preparing for an examination on the clinical aspects of toxicology. However, as when using the telephone directory, you may eventually have to pick up the telephone (or in this case, read a more comprehensive reference) to get all of the necessary information on a subject.




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