Purpose: To examine the pattern of antibiotic and painkiller prescriptions per diagnosis by dentists.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi, Pakistan. Dentists in the outpatient departments of the Dr. Isharat-ul-Ebad Khan Institute of Oral Health Sciences (DIKIOHS) filled out a form for each patient visiting during a two-week period. The form included: personal history of the patient, i.e. name, age, sex and education, patients complaint(s), medical history, dental history, full examination of the teeth and oral cavity, treatment need as far as different specialties are concerned, investigations, provisional diagnosis and treatment given. The WHO ATC system for drug classification was used. The number of prescriptions and defined daily doses (DDD) were recorded.
Results: A total of 709 patient forms (355 for male patients and 354 for female patients) were collected and included in the analysis. Of these, 123 (17%) included antibiotics and 455 (64%) painkillers. Caries/pulpitis was the most common diagnosis (n = 222; 31% of cases), of which 48 (21%) were prescribed antibiotics. Amoxicillin and metronidazole were the most common antibiotics prescribed for this diagnosis (n = 25); for caries/pulpitis diagnosis, 44 DDD/100 patients were prescribed. This was also the diagnosis for which painkiller prescription was most common (n = 191; 86%), with 102 DDD/100 patients.
Conclusion: Our study shows the prescription pattern of antibiotics and painkillers by dentists in Pakistan for the first time. There is a clear need to emphasise correct diagnostic methods and develop contextualised prescription guidelines and educational initiatives, so that the optimum effect of antibiotics and painkillers will be achieved without compromising patients health.
Keywords: antibiotics, DDD, dentists, diagnosis, painkillers, prescription