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NICE Should Change Antibiotic Guidelines for Dental Patients, Study Shows

November 5, 2018
by University of Sheffield


New research has revealed the impact a change in US guidelines had on the prescribing of antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) to prevent a life-threatening heart condition infective endocarditis (IE) in patients before undergoing invasive dental treatment.

The findings of the international research provide further evidence that the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) were wrong to call for a complete ban on the use of AP before invasive dental procedures – even for those considered to be at high-risk of IE such as patients with artificial or repaired heart valves or a previous history of IE.

The study is the largest and most comprehensive research into the 2007 American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations that AP should continue to be given to patients at high-risk of developing IE, but not to those at moderate-risk.

The research showed a large fall in AP prescribing for those at moderate-risk of IE (64 per cent). However, it also identified a concerning fall in AP prescribing to those at high-risk (20 per cent) – despite the AHA’s recommendation that high-risk individuals should continue to receive AP before invasive dental treatment.

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