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This book aims to provide a comprehensive account of pharmacogenetics with particular reference to its potential role in specific disease areas. While there have been previous books on pharmacogenetics, these have concentrated on the broader principles (often almost exclusively dealing with pharmacokinetic issues). We felt that a book that provides an account of the generic issues and then provides a disease-area-by-disease-area account would be of value.

This approach has an obvious advantage in that a reader specifically interested in the possible role of pharmacogenetics in dealing with patients with cardiovascular disease, for example, will be able to find all the relevant information in a single chapter, as opposed to having to read about specific enzymes or receptor systems and pick out those bits of information relevant to the disease area. It has, however, caused some difficulty in editing the text because obviously some issues (e.g., the role of cytochrome P450 polymorphism) are generic to many disease areas. In general, we left essential information in each chapter to ensure that the reader can gain all the relevant details without constantly having to cross-refer to other chapters. This means that there is a small amount of repetition in some of the chapters, but wherever possible we have reduced this to the minimum required to maintain the flow of the text.

The other obvious difficulty in this fast-moving subject area is ensuring that the account is up to date. While many of the broad issues have not changed over recent years, many new studies are underway. We tried to ensure that the book is as comprehensive as possible.

Looking through the contents readers will note that there is no specific chapter dealing with neurological disease; however, the relevant issues are dealt with either in the chapter on adverse drug reactions (anticonvulsants) or psychiatric disease. Similarly, the relatively small amount of information on renal disease pharmacogenetics is covered in the sections on metabolic and cardiovascular disease.

We hope that this book provides a useful starting point for both clinicians and non-clinicians with an interest in pharmacogenetics. This is an exciting time to be involved in the study of pharmacogenetics. Although the concept of personalized prescribing has been around for about 50 years, the next 10 years will prove whether or not this approach to improving the effectiveness of prescribing by achieving high efficacy while reducing the risk of severe adverse drug reactions is a viable generic approach to patient management.

Ian P. Hall Munir Pirmohamed

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