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Study Finds 81% of Dental Antibiotic Prescribing Not Needed

June 1, 2019
by Chris Dail, CIDRAP News


A new analysis of antibiotics prescribed before dental procedures has found that 80.9% are unnecessary, with most prescriptions being written for patients who don’t require them.

The study, published today in JAMA Network Open,found that antibiotic prophylaxis was prescribed in more than 168,000 dental visits from 2011 to 2015. In 90% of these visits, a procedure was performed that would require antibiotic prophylaxis only for cardiac patients considered at high risk for secondary infections.

But according to guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Dental Association (ADA), fewer than one fifth of those prescriptions were needed, as the patient did not have a heart condition placing him or her at the highest risk of an adverse outcome from infective endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.

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