Background Primary dental practitioners prescribe approximately 10% of all prescriptions. In 2016 NHS England launched a national programme to combat antibiotic over-usage; the main contributing factor to antimicrobial resistance. Aim To identify prescribing habits in the North East and Cumbria, UK, in October 2016 using NHS Community Pharmacy Data. Method The Business Services Authority were commissioned to undertake an audit during this timeframe. Data collected included the antibiotic name, dose, frequency, duration, practice contract number and location. Results The rate of prescriptions issued per 1,000 population reported ranged from 7.02 in Middlesbrough to 0.77 in Eden (Cumbria), with deprived areas showing higher prescribing rates. Prescriptions issued per 1,000 Units of Dental Activity (UDAs) commissioned per practice ranged from 0.02 to 16.6 per thousand. Prescription rates were highly correlated with higher dental access rates. Eleven different antibiotics were prescribed. Discussion The variability of rates of antibiotic prescribing in areas of similar deprivation indicated practitioner bias/preferences influenced rates significantly. Education on antibiotic prescribing guidelines would be of benefit. Conclusion We recommend all dentists regularly undertake self-audit to assess their own prescribing habits and a peer review assessment and/or mentored support groups be established to support colleagues that demonstrate outlying prescribing patterns.
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