July 26, 2002

Writing the book, handing out confidence

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Writing the book, handing out confidence

Five years ago, Dr. Chuck Seamens wasn’t completely satisfied with the available pocket resources for pharmacological management of his patients. So he re-wrote the book, literally and metaphorically.

Now, “DRUGology” is in its third year, with a new edition and distribution to medical schools across the country.

“There were a couple of handbooks, but they were not really comprehensive,” said Seamens, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine.

What sets apart Seamens’ little blue book — 210 pages plus and index, sized to fit white coat pockets — is its organization. It’s divided into specialties, then by diseases, listing medical management and possible drug interactions. There are helpful charts, such as “drugs considered safe during pregnancy,” and a couple of anatomical illustrations.

It’s the information, Seamens said, that “you’d have to go to different text books — cardiology, gynecology, infectious disease, etc. — in order to find the right management information.”

“It’s a combination of multiple knowledge needs contained in one small handbook,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, professor and chairman of Emergency Medicine and a co-editor, with Dr. Keith Wrenn, professor and vice-chairman of the Department. “It has all of the drugs and drug families in use today and it provides current treatment guidelines. It has emergency care recommendations and is also organized in a disease- and complaint-specific format for easy reference use.”

The goal, Seamens said, “is to provide a source that every medical student, intern and every resident will have in their pockets, so they’ll be better informed. I would imagine it cuts down on anxiety (in medical students, interns and residents) significantly by having an easily accessible resource to help them know what they’re doing.”

To stay current, he checks the FDA and Prescriber’s Letter Web sites to keep up with drug developments, approvals and alerts. This year, Seamens said, he’ll enlist the help of residents for editorial assistance to review chapters and research dosages. An electronic version, suitable for PDAs, is also in development.

“DRUGology,” published by Vanderbilt and available through various medical book distributors in medical school bookstores and online, costs $12.95, plus shipping. The books are also available in the office of the department of Emergency Medicine.