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Essential pharmacology of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers
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    By Stephen M Stahl (Pp 152, £24.95). Published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002. ISBN 0-521-89074-8

    This short book is an update of the two chapters from the second edition of Stahl’s larger textbook Essential pharmacology that deal exclusively with psychosis and schizophrenia and their treatment with antipsychotic drugs. The author argues that this new book is justified by the rapidly expanding knowledge base of psychopharmacology for psychosis and schizophrenia.

    This book has the same qualities as its big brother. The simple and beautifully conceived graphics make the book highly readable while conveying information that is at the cutting edge of contemporary neuroscience. The latest theories of mechanisms of “atypicality” are presented, including Kapur’s rapid dissociation theory, as are the modes of action of the new generation of so-called dopamine system stabilisers, exemplified by aripiprazole. Given that the latter has not yet been launched in the UK, this volume can truly claim to be ahead of the field. There is less new information on mood stabilisers, although some extended discussion of the use of atypical antipsychotics in mood disorders.

    Those who already have a copy of Essential pharmacology may be tempted to upgrade. New readers may be drawn to a thin, attractively presented volume. However, some concern must be expressed at the practice of releasing new material in this way. This book is not cheap for its size and the third edition of Essential pharmacology cannot be far behind.

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