antibioticsOnline antibiotic prescriptions are indefensible without seeing dental patients first, the British Dental Association (BDA) has said.

The statement was made after the Sunday Mirror highlighted how easy it was to get antibiotics online and how difficult it is to regulate these providers.

In the Sunday Mirror‘s investigation, it took a journalist only three minutes to get an online antibiotic prescription for cystitis after completing a simple questionnaire.

‘The health risk presented by AMR (antimicrobial resistance) requires a change in gear from patients, practitioners, and policymakers alike,’ chair of the BDA’s Health and Science Committee, Russ Ladwa, said.

‘To this end, the Sunday Mirror’s article reinforces the importance of raising awareness of AMR with the public, and in the case of a suspected dental infection seeing a dentist first rather than going online for antibiotics.

‘Patients may be surprised to learn that antibiotics won’t cure their dental abscesses and that surgical intervention coupled with analgesia is more often the treatment of choice for tooth-related pain.

‘It doesn’t help that some online pharmacies are dishing out antibiotics like smarties for dental problems, which sends out completely the wrong message to patients.

‘As dentistry accounts for around 10% of antibiotics prescribed in the UK, dentists are willing to take responsibility for their share in combatting this risk.’

Antimicrobial resistance

AMR has been highlighted by the World Health Organization as the most serious globally to public health.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that antibiotics should not be prescribed without adequate medical checks.

In 2016 a landmark declaration was signed by 193 countries that agreed to rid the world of antimicrobial resistant superbugs by reducing the amount of antibiotics that are prescribed.

This agreement offers the promise of a breakthrough on what is an existential threat to global health,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said at the time.

‘We have been determined to play our part in reducing antibiotic prescribing.

‘There are a whole range of fronts where we can secure progress.

‘Properly funded emergency slots, and removing the pressures that push patients to GPs, are just some of the measures that can bring down antibiotic prescribing.’