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Rational Psychopharmacology

A Book of Clinical Skills

H. Paul Putman III, M.D., DLFAPA

  • 2020
  • 334 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-317-8
  • Item #37317

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Each chapter of Rational Psychopharmacology: A Book of Clinical Skills is designed to advance the reader's clinical knowledge, methodical assessment expertise, and diagnostic sophistication. Unlike other psychopharmacology books, this guide transcends lists and tables of dosages and side effects, instructing the reader in the reasoning that undergirds treatment decisions. Residents, trainees, and practicing clinicians will learn not only which medicines are available and what their characteristics are, but also how to think systematically about both current research and patient assessment, resulting in more effective treatment strategies. After identifying the most useful practices for structuring rational thought in medicine, the author explores the nature of data, the best tools for analyzing basic and clinical research, the necessary information to obtain from patients and how to elicit it, and how to combine the foregoing information to structure successful treatment planning sessions with patients. After a quick review of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenomics, the book tackles an historical review of psychotropic medications, an exploration of commonly used supplements, and the patient lifestyle elements that are essential for a good pharmacological outcome. Finally, there are updates on somatic treatments as well as a section on adverse event awareness, assessment, and response and a concluding chapter on effective techniques for ongoing assessment of patients and treatment plans.

The accessible narrative is complemented by a variety of features to support learning:

  • Each chapter offers a summary and key clinical points to assist readers in identifying and clarifying the most important concepts to grasp and retain.
  • Self-assessment questions and answers accompany each chapter and are designed to help readers assess their understanding and review important content.
  • Carefully constructed discussion topics (equally useful for the individual reader or as the focus of discussion in seminars or journal clubs) are included to highlight the critical thinking skills covered in each chapter.
  • For additional enrichment and study, the author has included suggestions for additional reading at the end of each chapter.

The lessons provided by Rational Psychopharmacology: A Book of Clinical Skills will help students and trainees learn what they need to know to practice with confidence and help current clinicians identify and address weaknesses in their practice style, benefiting patient care and improving outcomes.


  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Thinking Thoroughly and Methodically
  • Chapter 2. Evidence-Based Medicine in an Era of Sparse Evidence: Assessment of Data
  • Chapter 3. Thorough Assessment Techniques
  • Chapter 4. Rational and Methodical Treatment Planning
  • Chapter 5. Risks of Jumping From Molecule to Mind or Symptom
  • Chapter 6. Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Pharmacogenomics
  • Chapter 7. Categories of Medication Used in Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • Chapter 8. Supplements: Their Role in Helping and Not Helping
  • Chapter 9. Critical Lifestyle Supports to Successful Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • Chapter 10. Nonpharmacological Somatic Treatments in Current Use
  • Chapter 11. Adverse Events
  • Chapter 12. Rational and Methodical Treatment Monitoring
  • Answer Key

About the Authors

H. Paul Putman III, M.D., is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

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