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News - 06 Jun 2013

An interview with Linda Dodds

Linda DoddsDrugs in Use

Pharmaceutical Press talks to Linda Dodds, editor of the bestselling Drugs in Use.


Pharmaceutical Press:  Linda, congratulations on the publication of the new edition of Drugs in Use: Case studies for pharmacists and prescribers!  We are now in the 5th edition of your book - what do you think makes this title so successful?

Linda Dodds:  The case studies provide a bridge between theoretical knowledge about medicines and medicines use and its practical application to individual patients. As a result it helps put learning about commonly encountered diseases and choice of appropriate treatments into context.

Patients are usually complex, they don't often have a single illness or condition, the evidence base changes quite rapidly, lots of treatment decisions are the result of experience and expertise, and guidelines are just that - a combination of evidence and consensus on best practice. However, all this information must be used in the context of the patient in front of you so that the treatment is right for them. And then you need to ensure that they are willing to take it! So it is really helpful for less experienced practitioners to read the rationale for treatment decisions in complex patients from the perspective of an experienced practitioner, and to start to see how to optimise medicines to meet the needs of an individual.

Pharmaceutical Press:  Readers will notice that the subtitle has changed slightly for this edition - could you explain the significance of this?

Linda Dodds:  Although this book has always been directed at pharmacists working in primary and secondary care, it should also be a valuable resource for those who prescribe as well as those who primarily monitor therapy. There have been a number of major studies looking into prescribing errors in the past few year- EQUIP examined prescribing in secondary care and the PRACtICe study reviewed GP prescribing. Both studies concluded that prescribing errors are unfortunately frequent, and that clinicians need more training in how to prescribe safely. This book can complement the training that is being developed for junior doctors. It could also support GP trainees to review evidence-based prescribing in conditions encountered frequently.

Pharmaceutical Press:  Can you tell me what else is new for the 5th edition?

Linda Dodds:  Management of common conditions changes as new evidence is published and new medicines are introduced to the market. A number of new case studies were introduced in the 4th edition. This edition has focused on updating all the chapters, ensuring that changes in the evidence base and frontline practice are reflected in the content.

Pharmaceutical Press:  Pharmacy courses are focussing more and more on the application of knowledge - how will your book help students to do this?

Linda Dodds:  This book will be of value to third and fourth year pharmacy students, as they begin to learn how common conditions are managed in practice; however it will become most useful when they start to support patients themselves, during their pre-registration training and early years as a practitioner, whatever the setting. It will be valuable during any postgraduate study and support continuing professional development. Feedback to me has been that this is the book that gets many people through their postgraduate clinical diplomas!

Pharmaceutical Press:  Your book is hugely popular with clinical pharmacists in both hospital and community - what advice would you give to your readers about how to use your book?

Linda Dodds:  Try to answer the questions based on your own knowledge and skills before you read the answers! If the answers differ from local practice, ask yourself why? Is local practice appropriate or not? If the answer is it is not- do something about it!

Pharmaceutical Press:  What are the biggest challenges you faced writing this book?

Linda Dodds:  Keeping the 30 plus authors within the timescale they had signed up to. Some authors are fantastic- others less so.....You know who you are.....

Pharmaceutical Press:  And finally, what do you enjoy doing when you are not teaching or practicing pharmacy?

Linda Dodds:  I am trying to learn classical guitar, I love reading, listening to music, walking, going to the theatre. And travelling to exotic locations. Our children are finally both in gainful employment and have left home so we have lots more free time (and money) to enjoy ourselves!

Pharmaceutical Press:  Thanks for your time Linda and best of luck with the book.

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Linda Dodds is Director of the Division of Medicines Use and Safety for East and South East England Specialist Pharmacy Services. She is also Teacher Practitioner at the Medway School of Pharmacy, where she has developed and delivers postgraduate programmes.


Contributors: Christopher Acomb, Caroline Ashley, Dola Awoyemi, Rosemary Blackie, Toby G D Capstick, Gillian F Cavell, Christine M Clark, Andrew Clark, Anne Cole, Stan Dobrzanski, Benjamin J Dorward, Tobias Dreischulte, Aileen Dunleavy, Jacqueline Eastwood, Simon Gabe, Rachel Hall, Tina Hawkins, Shelley Jones, Sarah Knighton, Kym Lowder, Jonathan Mason, John J McAnaw, Duncan McRobbie, Sharron Millen, Charles Morecroft, Anna C Murphy, Nadia Naous, Graham Newton, Caroline Parker, Sacha Pires, Stuart Richardson, John A Sexton, Steven Simpson, Katherine Stirling, Nicola Stoner, Denise A Taylor, Derek Taylor, Stephen Tomlin, Amy Vigar and Helen Williams.

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