Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021 Apr 5:1-8. doi: 10.1017/ice.2021.87. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to compare patterns of dental antibiotic prescribing in Australia, England, and North America (United States and British Columbia, Canada).
DESIGN: Population-level analysis of antibiotic prescription.
SETTING: Outpatient prescribing by dentists in 2017.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving an antibiotic dispensed by an outpatient pharmacy.
METHODS: Prescription-based rates adjusted by population were compared overall and by antibiotic class. Contingency tables assessed differences in the proportion of antibiotic class by country.
RESULTS: In 2017, dentists in the United States had the highest antibiotic prescribing rate per 1,000 population and Australia had the lowest rate. The penicillin class, particularly amoxicillin, was the most frequently prescribed for all countries. The second most common agents prescribed were clindamycin in the United States and British Columbia (Canada) and metronidazole in Australia and England. Broad-spectrum agents, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and azithromycin were the highest in Australia and the United States, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Extreme differences exist in antibiotics prescribed by dentists in Australia, England, the United States, and British Columbia. The United States had twice the antibiotic prescription rate of Australia and the most frequently prescribed antibiotic in the US was clindamycin. Significant opportunities exist for the global dental community to update their prescribing behavior relating to second-line agents for penicillin allergic patients and to contribute to international efforts addressing antibiotic resistance. Patient safety improvements will result from optimizing dental antibiotic prescribing, especially for antibiotics associated with resistance (broad-spectrum agents) or C. difficile (clindamycin). Dental antibiotic stewardship programs are urgently needed worldwide.