About half of all the medicines prescribed by doctors are not taken by their patients. One of the reasons most commonly given by patients for not taking drugs is that they feel unhappy about taking medicines which they do not understand and of which they are afraid. This book attempts torectify this problem by showing in clear, non-technical language how medicines and other drugs work in the body to reduce the effects of disease. Most chapters include fascinating background information on how some of our most important drugs were discovered, along with intriguing and often amusinganecdotes about the drugs and the people behind their discovery. Each chapter also includes a summary of the key points together with illustrations, photographs or diagrams to summarise the main groups and how they work in the body. The book covers all the major groups of drugs, with completelistings of all the drugs available in the UK and the USA, so that the reader can locate his or her specific drug and read about the actions of the drugs in that group. The various chapters cover drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea,constipation, ulcers, cancers, infections, impotence, incontinence, arthritis, osteoporosis, as well as hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives and drugs used in disorders of the brain such as schizophrenia, depression, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. There is also achapter on drugs which are abused such as cannabis, alcohol, nicotine and ecstasy, and a chapter covering some of the poisons we encounter, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, sheep dip, and the venoms of snakes, spiders, scorpions and marine organisms. Here, then, a fascinating survey of howchemicals have their effects in the body. It shows how drugs work and explains why it is that taking some medicines for many years is far safer than suffering the long-term effects of disease. Pills, Potions and Poisons is an entertaining read that should also help to improve health and quality oflife.