Antimicrobial Prescription Self-Auditing Tool Gets Updated

Dentistry Today


The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) and the British Dental Association have updated their Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool. Coinciding with the launch of the government’s 5-Year Action Plan and 20-Year Vision for antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the update is intended to help the dental profession play its part in tackling AMR by further reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. 

Poor prescribing practices and misuse of antibiotics are contributing to an increasing incidence of multi-drug-resistant infections, FGDP(UK) says, causing an estimated 700,000 deaths each year worldwide. The UK government expects this toll to rise to 10 million by 2050. Its plan includes a target to reduce the use of antibiotics in humans by 15% over the next five years and to contain and control AMR by 2040.

Dentists issue approximately 5% to 7% of all National Health Service prescriptions, FGDP(UK) reports. The Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool consists of a data collection sheet together with a comprehensive guide enabling dentists to complete a clinical audit of their prescribing and their management of dental infections. 

Endorsed by Public Health England, the tool is designed to be used alongside the FGDP(UK)’s Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners guidance so dentists can compare their practice against standards. The tool originally was launched in November 2016 and has now been updated to promote the understanding that it facilitates, rather than performs, an audit.

Clinical audits of antibiotic prescribing have been shown to lead to a reduction in both the number of prescriptions and in the number of inappropriate prescriptions, FGDP(UK) says, as well as dramatic improvements in the accuracy of dose, frequency, and duration of antibiotic prescriptions.

Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners provides evidence-based guidance on when to prescribe antibiotics, what to prescribe, for how long, and at what dosage. It is available on the FGDP(UK) website.

FGDP(UK) also encourages general dental practitioners (GDPs) to take the British Association of Oral Surgeons’ Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) e-Learning Modules, which provide free verified continuing professional development (CPD), enabling them to demonstrate application of the principles of antimicrobial stewardship to common clinical scenarios.

“The government’s renewed focus on tackling AMR is very welcome, and dentists have a vital contribution to make in keeping antibiotics working,” said Dr. Nick Palmer, editor and coauthor of the FGDP(UK)’s prescribing guidance.

“FGDP(UK) is enabling dentists to play their part in tackling a significant global problem, and by using the Self-Audit Tool, consulting our guidance, and undertaking CPD, GPDs can help ensure they only prescribe antibiotics when clinically justified,” Palmer said. “We can also help reduce misuse of antibiotics by educating our patients to take and dispose of them responsibly.” 

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