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Rx Handbook



Hi. I'm looking for any recommendations or critiques for quick reference books on psychiatric drugs.
Two I have heard about are 1) Stahl's Prescriber Guide and 2) Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs.
Any one have any other suggestions or preferences.
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10+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2009
  1. Attending Physician


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5+ Year Member
Nov 14, 2015
Stahl plus uptodate, then epocrates occasionally to see pill pictures. If you have uptodate access, you can get an app on your phone that works very quickly, better than epocrates in my experience, with more details about side effects (percentages), and if you look at the uptodate pricing tab you can see what size pills are available (did you know buspirone does not come in a 20 mg tablet?)


Full Member
Oct 31, 2019
  1. Attending Physician
I'm not a big fan of Stahl's--I think he makes too many assertions based on anecdotal experience without a clear evidence base. I don't think I'm the first to point this out.

I wanted to like Maudsley's, but it reads like novel and I find it less useful as a reference.

I've recently become a big fan of The Carlat Report and associated resources. Carlat's "Medication Fact Book for Psychiatric Practice" is really excellent. It has a nice one-page summary for each med, lots of useful tables, quick one-page primers on how to manage common side effects, appendix tables for pregnancy and lactation. I have the 4th edition but I think the 5th edition was just released this year.
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Full Member
Apr 22, 2020
  1. Attending Physician
Stahls is slightly useful to have on your desk in residency or in private practice for quick reference to dosing. After a while you learn those things and it becomes pointless. GoodRx is good for learning what dosages something comes in too (this is more for PGY-1 or 2). Also like half of the drugs are not really psych drugs in that book. And I'm not trying to put him down at all, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't actually seen any patients since 1985. That's a long time to be out of actual clinical practice. I might be wrong about this but it's what I've heard and his wikipedia page kind of backs that up. I feel like 90% of each drug section is useless and he attributes what I call a lot of 'magical properties' to every drug. You'd read his book and think every drug is a miracle cure.

Maudsley is okay but it's more oriented towards the EU. Some of the drugs aren't in the US.

In residency, I bought the 'APA Textbook of Psychopharmacology' 5th edition. I might be a little off on the name. The cover was a bunch of green-stained neurons I think. I read it cover to cover twice and aside from useful historical perspective it wasn't that helpful. Some of the recommendations in the MAOI chapter are wrong and life threatening. It said to give nifedipine in MAOI hypertensive crisis. This has been discouraged since like the 90s because of risk of blindness and stroke.

I really only use Stahl's (well, it's on my desk at my office) and UpToDate on a regular basis for my practice. Other books are more for my education and less for day to day prescribing info. UpToDate also has the very useful lexicomp drug interaction tool. Very useful for new patients on weird non-psych drugs.
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