As in the past, I was excited, albeit somewhat apprehensive, to start working on a new edition of this book. I always joke that I should have written a text on gross anatomy—human structures have not changed much in the few years since the last edition. Pharmacology, however, continues to change and expand as new drugs are developed and we explore how patients respond to various drug regimens. Pharmacology has likewise taken advantage of scientific developments in other areas to enhance patient outcomes. For example, the Human Genome Project, nanotechnology, and creation of monoclonal antibodies were still in their infancy when I began working on the first edition of this text. These and other scientific breakthroughs are now an important part of drug development, and they continue to contribute to innovative and clinically relevant advances in pharmacotherapy.
Given all the advancements in pharmacology, I tried to maintain the basic ideas presented in previous editions—that is, I describe drug therapy from the perspective of how specific drugs work and how they can provide beneficial effects as well as adverse effects in patients undergoing physical rehabilitation. As in previous editions, I relied heavily on the peer-reviewed literature to provide current information, while trying to distill the wealth of information to the issues that are most relevant to our patients.
This edition starts with several chapters that address basic pharmacological principles, followed by chapters that deal with drugs used to treat specific disorders or achieve certain clinical outcomes. The text, figures, and tables were all updated, and new figures were added to several chapters to illustrate drug actions and effects. Case studies appear at the end of chapters that deal with specific clinical disorders. I revised all the case studies and changed the format so that several questions are posed within the case. Answers to these questions appear in an appendix at the end of the book. This change will hopefully engage readers and encourage application of information gleaned from the respective chapters.
Finally, I always appreciate the opportunity to write a new edition of this book. Pharmacology has certainly become an integral part of contemporary health care, and we must have a working knowledge of how drugs affect our patients. I hope that I have provided students and clinicians with a useful resource on this topic and that this text will ultimately help guide your practice when treating patients in a rehabilitation setting.