Book review: Goodman & Gilman’s Manual of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 50, No. 4, May 2008, Page 191 News

Book cover for Manual of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Edited by Laurence Brunton et al., 2008. ISBN 0-07-144343-6, 978-0-07144343-2. $54.95.

I was recently being shown around the University of California, San Diego campus by my proud first-year medical student daughter. Waiting with us for an elevator was a distinguished looking man with a flock of white hair carrying a copy of Goodman & Gilman’s Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics adorned by a rainbow of Post-it Notes. 

I said to my daughter, obviously overheard, “That’s my favorite pharmacology book. We should wrestle it from him.” Much amused, the gentleman claimed that it was his book and we couldn’t have it. After further bantering and exchange of pleasantries we went on our way. 

My daughter then informed me that the gentleman in question was in fact Laurence Brunton, her professor of pharmacology and editor-in-chief of Goodman & Gilman’s. I then realized what he meant by this being his book.

The new Manual of Pharmacology and Therapeutics is the portable version of the 4 kilogram parent book The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. The manual is divided into principles of pharmacology, organ systems, antimicrobials, immuno­modulators, hormones, and toxicology, like its parent edition. 

While this portable briefcase-fitting version is condensed down to 1200 pages, it still provides sufficient detail for most students and clinicians. Unfortunately, the smaller version won’t attract as much campus attention.

While both versions of Goodman & Gilman’s are unsurpassed as references of the science of pharmacology and therapeutics, for drug-specific information the reader will find Martindale’s The Complete Drug Reference to be much more comprehensive.  


Willem R. Vroom, MD. Book review: Goodman & Gilman’s Manual of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 4, May, 2008, Page(s) 191 - News.

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