Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

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The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, often called simply The Merck Manual, is the world's best-selling medical textbook. First published in 1899, as of July 2011, it is in its 19th edition (ISBN 978-0-911910-19-3).

Professional Edition[edit]

Ad for the January 1906 edition of the Merck's Archives.

The Merck Manual is recommended by librarians in standard references such as the "Brandon/Hill selected list of books and journals for the small medical library", published by the Medical Library Association. It is published as a service to the medical community and is one of the least expensive medical textbooks on the Brandon/Hill list. The Merck Manual 19th Edition was published by the pharmaceutical company Merck Publishing in July 2011. It is continuously updated by an independent editorial board and over 300 peer reviewers. In addition to the hard-cover edition, mobile apps are available and the full text is available free online.

The Merck Manual is organized, like most internal medicine textbooks, into organ systems, such as heart, lungs, gastrointestinal system, muscular system, etc., dealing with each major disease of that system in turn, in the standard format of diagnosis (symptoms), prognosis and treatment. It condenses all of medical knowledge into 3500 pages, by emphasizing practical information of use to a practicing physician.

Home Edition[edit]

In 1997, it was re-edited in a consumer edition, The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home Edition. A second revised edition was published in 2003 and the third edition was published as The Merck Manual - Home Health Handbook in 2009. In addition to the hard-cover, several paperback editions and mobile apps, the full text is available free online. The Home Health Handbook includes the full content of the Professional edition, except for details of tests, drug doses, and technical information for use only by doctors. It uses lay terms, with medical terms in parentheses, because patients often want to learn medical terminology for further reading. Each chapter begins with an illustrated lay description of the normal functioning of the organ system.

The Merck Manual—Home Health Handbook is divided into 25 sections each containing several chapters about a certain category of health issues. For example, there is a section for drugs and medications, a section for cancer, and a section for eye disorders. The total number of chapters is 306, with 4 additional appendixes.

The text is widely available in libraries.[citation needed] Well over two million copies have been sold.[citation needed]. It is also available free online.

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