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Use of effective and safe pharmacotherapy is a cornerstone of appropriate patient care for both acute and chronic medical conditions. Although the biomedical research enterprise continues to provide medications that have enormous potential to improve individual patient and population health outcomes, these agents are too often applied inappropriately and ineffectively. Consequently, many patients do not achieve the best possible outcomes or incur harm from their drug therapy.

Appropriate implementation and management of high-quality, cost-effective pharmacotherapy by health care providers requires an integration of scientific knowledge and clinical practice skills combined with a fiduciary responsibility to put the patient's needs first. The development of mature, independent pharmacotherapists occurs through structured learning processes that include formal coursework, independent study, mentorship, and direct involvement in the care of actual patients in interprofessional settings.

The fourth edition of Pharmacotherapy Principles & Practice is designed to provide student learners and health care practitioners with essential knowledge of the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapeutics of disease states likely to be encountered in routine practice. Chapters are written by content experts and peer reviewed by clinical pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians who are authorities in their fields.

Pharmacotherapy Principles & Practice, fourth edition, opens with an introductory chapter followed by chapters on pediatrics, geriatrics, and palliative care. The remainder of the book consists of 98 disease-based chapters that review disease etiology, epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation, followed by clear therapeutic recommendations for drug selection, dosing, and patient monitoring. The following features were designed in collaboration with educational design specialists to enhance learning and retention:

  • Structured learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, with information in the text that corresponds to each learning objective identified by a vertical rule in the margin, allowing the reader to quickly find content related to each objective.

  • Key concepts related to patient assessment and treatment highlighted with an easily identifiable icon throughout the chapter.

  • Patient encounters that facilitate development of critical thinking skills and lend clinical relevance to the scientific foundation provided.

  • A new section on the patient care process that provides specific recommendations about the process of care for an individual patient, from the initial patient assessment through therapy evaluation, care plan development, and follow-up monitoring.

  • Up-to-date literature citations for each chapter to support treatment recommendations.

  • Tables, figures, and algorithms that enhance understanding of pathophysiology, clinical presentation, medication selection, pharmacokinetics, and patient monitoring.

  • Medical abbreviations and their meanings at the end of each chapter to facilitate learning the accepted shorthand used in real-world health care settings.

  • Self-assessment questions and answers for each chapter in the Online Learning Center to facilitate self-evaluation of learning.

  • Laboratory values expressed as both conventional units and Système International (SI) units.

  • Appendices that contain: (1) conversion factors and anthropometrics; (2) common medical abbreviations;(3) glossary of medical terms (the first use of each term in a chapter appears in bold, colored font); and (4) prescription writing principles.

  • A table of common laboratory tests and reference ranges appears on the inside covers of the book.

A companion textbook, Pharmacotherapy Principles and Practice Study Guide: A Case-Based Care Plan Approach, is available to further enhance learning by guiding students through the process of applying knowledge of pharmacotherapy to specific patient cases. This study guide contains approximately 100 patient cases that correspond to chapters published in the textbook.

The Online Learning Center at provides self-assessment questions, grading and immediate feedback on the questions, and reporting capabilities. The complete textbook and study guide are now available to subscribers of the publisher's AccessPharmacy site (, an online educational resource for faculty and students of the health professions.

We acknowledge the commitment and dedication of more than 185 contributing authors and more than 65 peer reviewers of the chapters in this new edition. We are also grateful to many educators and institutions that have adopted this text in their courses. Finally, we extend our sincere thanks to the McGraw-Hill Professional editorial team, especially Michael Weitz, Peter Boyle, and Laura Libretti, for their dedication in bringing this new edition to you.

The Editors
February 2016

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