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Book Reviews   |    
The Evidence-Based Guide to Antidepressant Medications

edited by Anthony J. Rothschild, M.D.; Arlington, Virginia, American Psychiatric Association, 2012, 424 pages, $69

Reviewed by Søren Dinesen Østergaard, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.6401101
View Author and Article Information

The reviewer reports no competing interests.

Dr. Østergaard is with the Unit for Psychiatric Research, Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark, and the Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

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In his book The Evidence-Based Guide to Antidepressant Medications, Dr. Rothschild gives an extensive introduction to the applications of antidepressants. Dr. Rothschild is the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychiatry at University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he is also the director of the Center for Psychopharmacologic Research and Treatment and the UMass Depression Center. Dr. Rothschild is an experienced clinical psychiatrist and has published many high-profile research articles, especially on the treatment of affective disorders. This background is evident in The Evidence-Based Guide to Antidepressant Medications, which elegantly merges knowledge from cutting-edge clinical trials with the practical experiences of a skilled clinician. In addition to the sections written by Dr. Rothschild, a number of invited high-profile authors have contributed chapters covering their respective fields of expertise.

This book covers virtually all aspects of the overarching topic, beginning with a highly informative introduction to the various classes of antidepressants, followed by chapters on the application of these medications for specific disorders: unipolar and bipolar depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, personality disorders, and substance-related disorders. The book also addresses specific subpopulations: children and adolescents, geriatric patients, patients with general medical illness, pregnant or lactating patients, and those receiving nursing care.

The Evidence-Based Guide to Antidepressant Medications makes a very relevant contribution to the field, and it is well written in plain medical language. The volume is enriched by an exhaustive reference list to encourage further in-depth reading. Personally, I particularly enjoyed Dr. Rothschild’s more informal advice to the readers, for example: “Although many clinicians fear that their patients will be unable to follow the low-tyramine diet, I have had patients ranging in age from 18 to 80 who take MAOIs and follow the diet. Before prescribing an MAOI, I review the diet with the patients to see if they think they can follow it. Also, before I prescribe an MAOI, I often have patients try the diet for a week to see if they can adhere to it.” Such descriptions of personal experiences are refreshing for the reader and something many textbook authors should learn from.

I strongly recommend this book to all health professionals and students who want to learn about evidence-based use of antidepressants and to those with a general interest in clinical psychopharmacology.

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