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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Many Preventive Antibiotics Prescribed by Dentists Are Unnecessary

More than 80 percent of antibiotics prescribed before dental procedures to prevent infection are unnecessary, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Overuse of antibiotics is a significant and growing public health concern, explained senior author Dr. Charlesnika Evans, associate professor of preventive medicine in the Division of Epidemiology and a member of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern.

“While antibiotics are life-saving, they are not safe drugs and can cause many adverse effects in patients. We are also running out of antibiotics that work because bacterial resistance is increasing,” Dr. Evans said. “Therefore, antibiotics should be prescribed only when necessary.”

Dentists are responsible for prescribing about 1 in 10 of all antibiotics and are among the top outpatient antibiotic prescribers in the United States.

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