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WAO Medical Book Review

Litt's Drug Eruption Reference Manual, 13th Edition; Including Drug Interactions
Author: Jerome Z. Litt, MD

Available from: Informa Healthcare, 2007
List Price: 309.95 USD

James Young Joon Choi, MB BS, FRACP
Clinical Immunologist and Allergist
Dermatology Registrar, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia

This thirteenth edition is a timely update to an invaluable clinical tool. Its main purpose is to help find the cause for a possible drug induced rash. Using the two main chapters within the book, you can approach this clinical problem from two separate paths - starting with the generic name of any drug, you can very quickly find a list of associated cutaneous eruptions for which it has been responsible, or alternatively, especially useful if the patient is taking many medications, you can look up the cutaneous eruption type itself, and then scan through a comprehensive list of all the drugs which have been responsible for that particular reaction.

The book is structured to minimize page flipping - drug names (generic) and types of drug reactions are each arranged alphabetically in two separate chapters, eliminating the need for a separate index. The information under each drug (over 1000, including substances such as caffeine, red clover, and even myrrh) is split into two main sections. There is a brief list of its common trade names, clinical indications, pharmacologic category (e.g. inhalation anesthetic), half life, and important drug interactions. Following this, there is a comprehensive list of all the different types of reported reactions (predominantly cutaneous), each reaction type accompanied by relevant and up to date references (predominantly from journal articles, but also from books and personal communications).

The target audience for this book is mainly for dermatologists and allergists. Although there is a small chapter at the end of the book describing the features of some of the different types of cutaneous reactions, it is not an atlas. There is not a single photo or diagram. This is not the book that will help a medical student make a diagnosis of a lichenoid eruption. However, once the dermatologic diagnosis is made, the book will quickly help even a student identify the likely causal drug. And because of this, and because it is now up to date, it is a most useful tool for the busy clinician to keep under the prescription pad.