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Edited by: Flanagan and Jones (Pp 325; £39.99) 2001. Andover: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0 748 40965 3
This very welcome book on antidotes by Flanagan and Jones from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust is a paperback, but fairly comprehensive text, on antidotes. It includes a chapter on chemical warfare agents by myself and Bob Maynard, on which I will not comment, except to say that, sadly, this chapter may prove a selling point at this time.
Chapter 1 is a general introduction, with fascinating sections on the mechanism of action of antidotes and their history and development from ancient times. I had not realised how much time nineteenth century doctors spent on painters' colic (lead poisoning). Also in this chapter is a list of obsolete antidotes.
Thereafter the book assumes a more systematic character, starting with the treatment of metal poisoning. However, as shown by the section on lead poisoning, the book is not a simple compendium of antidotes (as the title suggests) and the treatment of the various types of lead intoxication, including low level exposure, is discussed. The next two chapters discuss, respectively, immunotherapy and metabolic antidotes. Chapter 5 (pharmacological antidotes) covers the various antidotes acting at characterised receptors and includes discussion of the oxime cholinesterase reactivators. Chapter 6 comprises an interesting discussion of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and hydrogen sulphide antidotes; the number of cyanide antidotes around the world attests to the lack of agreed protocols for the comparison of antidotes. The last chapters deal with paraquat and interferences with toxicological analyses. The book is good value for money at £40.00.
This is not an encyclopaedic book, but it is full of material for the clinician. Unusually, it is extremely chemically literate, with CAS numbers and chemical formulae. It will be invaluable to pharmacologists, health professionals interested in toxicology, and occupational health physicians.