Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man.
As budgets tighten, many laboratories and clinical laboratory scientists opt not to buy each new edition of the volumes that line our bookcases. Baselt's Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man is one for which I make an exception. Now in its 5th edition, this book continues to be a quick and easy reference for those calls on Friday afternoon or for a quick verification of some pharmacokinetic parameter long purged from memory.
This edition contains entries for 482 drugs and chemicals in alphabetical order (with one exception, as I'll mention later). Each entry begins with the known pertinent pharmacokinetic data, including half-life, volume of distribution, fraction of protein-bound drug, p[K.sub.a], and chemical structure. Following this are concise descriptions categorized into occurrence and usage, blood concentrations, metabolism and excretion, toxicity, analysis, and references. The toxicity section contains concentrations found in various body fluids and tissues reported from fatal poisonings--information that will be of use to the pathologist or toxicologist in the medical examiner's office. Although one can find much of the information contained within other resources, including the World Wide Web, this book presents each entry concisely and consistently, making it easy to use. Because of this, I make sure the residents and medical technologists have access to a copy.
During the last month, several of us challenged the edition with each drug or chemical question that arose. The volume didn't fail us; the compound in question was there, as was the information needed. That is, until last week, when we had a potential poisoning with brodifacoum, one of the superwarfarin rodenticides. Perhaps it will appear in the next edition!
One last note, don't overlook the addendum--an entry on melatonin. This highlights a need for more entries for herbals and alternative drugs (including anabolic steroids), given that the increased usage of these products prompts many questions.
Catherine A. Hammett-Stabler
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Department of Pathology
and Laboratory Medicine
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7525