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Johns Hopkins ABX Guide 2012 (Johns Hopkins Medicine) – Review by Kenneth Ellman

Protection for you and your patient in your lab coat

I previously reviewed this book in December of 2005 when the first edition was available. You can find my initial review of the first edition on Amazon and on my web site. We are now in the third edition and this highly utilitarian book continues to amass and prove its value. The name ABX Guide is deceptive since we are all familiar with small booklets which describe a full range of anti-infectives with dosage recommendations and sensitivity details. In fact there are a very many such small publications. Here with the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide you are getting an entirely different animal. The first edition was 655 pages with a pull out chart. This third edition is 886 pages and the chart is gone. I liked the sensitivity chart with quick access recommendations. But I suppose we can’t have everything. What we do still have is a book that can slip into a lab coat or other convenient carry method yet contains a wealth of easily and quickly accessible authoritative Infections Disease information. This is not a Drug Guide, it is much more. It is broken down into five basic categories as follows: Diagnosis, Pathogens, Management, Drugs and Vaccines. It further has three appendix covering Therapeutic Tables for Specific Diagnosis and Pathogens, General Therapeutic Tables and Drug to Drug Interaction Tables, plus an Index! I again remind you this will all fit in your lab coat. The information here is that which is well recognized, without significant controversy and widespread in its application. If you use this book as intended you will not be disappointed. What it is not and what it is unable to provide is a widespread, detailed, in depth discussion of infectious disease nor does it provide controversial or minority alternative views as to treatment recommendations. An example are the entries under Lyme Disease which follow the IDSA Guidelines from which I and others dissent. What is additionally very useful are the brief entries entitled “Basis of Recommendations” that are part of each monograph for further reading. This book has no shortage of honesty either. Under Lymphadenopathy “Basis of Recommendations”, it clearly states “author opinion” and “No Guidelines available for diagnostic algorithm”.
I appreciate such forthright clarity. This is not a substitute for Kucers/Crowe Use of Antibiotics which is a gem and treasure. Do not look for that here. But to have such diverse, reliable and authoritative pocket guide to Infectious Disease is quite an accomplishment. This pocket book is a service to all those in need of such information and should be in your pocket so it can be used to protect both your patient and yourself. And you don’t even need a computer! Kenneth Ellman,, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860.