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Precautionary (prophylactic) antibiotics prescribed by dentists are unnecessary 81% of the time, according to a study published today. Antibiotics prescribed when not warranted expose patients to the risk of side effects unnecessarily and also contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance -- bacteria evolving to make the drugs ineffective.
Researchers used a US national health care claims database to examine nearly 170,000 dentist-written antibiotic prescriptions from 2011 to 2015. The prescriptions involved more than 90,000 patients, 57 percent female, with a median age of 63. Less than 21 percent of those people had a cardiac condition that made an antibiotic prescription recommended under medical guidelines. Among patients who filled prescriptions for unnecessary antibiotics, clindamycin was the most common drug, and joint implants were the most typical reason they were prescribed.
"Dental providers are very thoughtful when they develop care plans for their patients and there are many factors that inform dentists' recommendations, but this study shows that there is an opportunity for dentists to reevaluate if necessary," said Susan Rowan of the Illinois-Chicago College of Dentistry. "I think dental providers should view this study, which is the first to look at preventive antibiotic prescribing for dental procedures, as a powerful call to action, not a rebuke."
Outline the main issues raised
(Reference: Adapted from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190531143107.htm)