The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy is one of five large reference volumes published by Merck.


Merck & Co. is a pharmaceutical company started by George Merck in 1891. He was related to Frederic Jacob Merck, a 17th century German apothecary. The first edition of this Merck manual appeared in 1899, as Merck's Manual of the Materia Medica. The target audience was, and still is, the general pracitioner. During WWII, a pocket sized manual was printed for quick diagnoses.

After WWII, it was recognized as a teaching tool, and became a staple in most medical schools. Merck has continued to publish manuals, eventually printing a specialized geriatrics manual and an abridged one for home use. Now, the manual is published in 14 languages and is in its 17th edition.


Mark H. Beers and Robert Berkow, both medical doctors, edited the publication. The ediorial board consists of 50 or so doctors, each specializing in a specific area. Merck also licenses research papers from many, many universities and scientists. The manual is continually proofed and updated by Merck.

The manual

The tome is divided into 23 sections and 308 chapters. It is avaliable at no charge online at Given that it is free, Merck is very generous in keeping the manual current. It costs 35 dollars in bound form. The bound form is rather nice. It measures about 8 inches tall and 5 wide, being 3 inches thick. The manual was printed on 22 lb bible paper on, an offest press. Merck publishes the manual as a service to the medical community.

The manual is organized from the diagnostic view. This makes it far easier for a doctor to use. Ophthalmia Neonatorum is worthless in a long alphabatized list, but filed under neonatal infections, nosocomial infection in the newborn It becomes easy to find. If you are curious, it is ocular drainage caused a hospital chemical. The beauty of the organizational system becomes apparent.

The Contents:

  1. Nutritional Disorders (Chs. 1-5)
  2. Endocrine / Metabolic Disorders (Chs. 6-18)
  3. Gastrointestinal Disorders (Chs. 19-35)
  4. Hepatic / Biliary Disorders (Chs. 36-48)
  5. Musculoskeletal / Connective Tissue Disorders (Chs. 49-62)
  6. Pulmonary Disorders (Chs. 63-81)
  7. Ear / Nose / Throat Disorders (Chs. 82-89)
  8. Ophthalmologic Disorders (Chs. 90-102)
  9. Dental / Oral Disorders (Chs. 103-108)
  10. Dermatologic Disorders (Chs. 109-126)
  11. Hematology / Oncology (Chs. 127-145)
  12. Immunology; Allergic Disorders (Chs. 146-149)
  13. Infectious Diseases (Chs. 150-164)
  14. Neurologic Disorders (Chs. 165-184)
  15. Psychiatric Disorders (Chs. 185-196)
  16. Cardiovascular Disorders (Chs. 197-213)
  17. Genitourinary Disorders (Chs. 214-233)
  18. Gynecology / Obstetrics (Chs. 234-254)
  19. Pediatrics (Chs. 255-275)
  20. Disorders Due to Physical Agents (Chs. 276-285)
  21. Special Subjects (Chs. 286-297)
  22. Clinical Pharmacology (Chs. 298-306)
  23. Poisoning (Chs. 307-308)

I am currently awaiting a response from Merck to see if I can reprint the 17th online edition on e2. I think the manual could benefit greatly from the interconnectivity e2 provides. Update: Carefully drafted letter sent June 14th 2003. Awaiting reply. No reply as of August...I will write again, addressing a specific person, and hope for the best. Update Jan 2004: No reply, lost cause.


  • The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

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