An analysis of the clinical appropriateness of out-of-hours emergency dental prescribing of antibiotics in Northern Ireland

Jennifer McKay, Edward Begley, Padraig Kerlin, Donncha O'Carolan, Gerry Cleary, Gerry McKenna, Kathryn Burnett

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The inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in dentistry is potentially linked to the development of antimicrobial resistance, as well as being a considerable cost to healthcare. This study analysed the clinical appropriateness of antibiotics prescribed from ‘walk-in’ and telephone triage out-of-hours emergency dental clinics in Northern Ireland.
Methods: Patient and prescribing data were collected from two out-of-hour emergency dental clinics over a two month period between September and December 2017. In total 434 prescriptions were analysed. Clinical appropriateness was determined on a case-by-case basis for each prescription by referencing dental prescribing guidelines.
Results: Over half of the prescriptions analysed (52.77 %) were judged as clinically inappropriate. A total of 19.12% of prescriptions were judged as inappropriate as the antibiotic prescribed was not indicated for the diagnosis recorded by the clinician. Local measures were not attempted in 36.6% of cases. A significant difference (p=0.002) was observed between the clinical appropriateness of prescriptions issued via walk-in and triage appointments with triage appointments issuing more clinically appropriate prescriptions.
Conclusions: A significant number of prescriptions provided in out-of-hours emergency dental clinics in Northern Ireland were judged to be inappropriate according to current dental prescribing guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusAccepted - 13 Feb 2020


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