Antibiotic overuse in dentistry, ENT

Antibiotic overuse in dentistry, ENT

Originally published on Deccan Chronicle

Overuse of antibiotics by specialised professionals like dentists, skin specialists and ENT specialists has been reviewed by the Indian Council of Medical Research, which said that its overuse was very high in these specialities and must be curtailed. 

The ICMR has been checking the growing antimicrobial resistance in the country by collecting cultures to identify offending micro-organisms, use of early diagnostic kits and it has also been checking whether quantifying therapy has been used in medication. This is being done from data collected from corporate hospitals, diagnostic laboratories where a peer-review of the processes at hospitals are being evaluated. 

In this, they have found that there is high antibiotic use in dental practice for conditions like caries, gingivitis, pulpitis and chronic inflammation. The ICMR review has observed that there are different and varied ranges of antibiotics, which are prescribed by dentists to prevent and manage infections.

Similarly, ENT doctors are found to prescribe antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections, rhino pharyngitis, tonsillitis and otitis media. The ICMR in its guidelines has found that for upper respiratory tract infections which are a viral infection, antibiotics are not required. Yet, 75 per cent of antibiotics are prescribed for this condition every year. Despite the fact that there is little or no benefit of antibiotic use in this condition. 

The prescription of potent steroid-based antibacterial, antifungal topical combinations in rapid feel-good effect for skin infections, especially on the face, has led to heavy misuse of this product by consumers.

It has been found that these prescriptions are used beyond the time limit and the microbial resistance has been noted in these products too.

The prescription of these three categories is found to be misused with over-the-counter sales and self-medication in cases of recurrence of the medical condition. 

The ICMR states that these three specialist categories have to now be monitored closely as the pharmacists have to check the date of prescription before dispensing these medicines. 

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