OBJECTIVES: To describe antimicrobial prescribing by Belgian dentists in ambulatory care, from 2010 until 2016.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Reimbursement data from the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance were analysed to evaluate antimicrobial prescribing (WHO ATC-codes J01/P01AB). Utilisation was expressed in defined daily doses (DDDs), and in DDDs and packages per 1000 inhabitants per day (DID and PID, respectively). Additionally, the number of DDD and packages per prescriber was calculated.
RESULTS: In 2016, the dentistry-related prescribing rate of 'Antibacterials for systemic use' (J01) and 'Antiprotozoals' (P01AB) was 1.607 and 0.014 DID, respectively. From 2010 to 2016, the DID rate of J01 increased by 6.3%, while the PID rate declined by 6.7%. Amoxicillin and amoxicillin with an enzyme inhibitor were the most often prescribed products, followed by clindamycin, clarithromycin, doxycycline, azithromycin and metronidazole. The proportion of amoxicillin relative to amoxicillin with an enzyme inhibitor was low. The narrow-spectrum antibiotic penicillin V was almost never prescribed.
CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotics typically classified as broad- or extended-spectrum were prescribed most often by Belgian dentists during the period 2000-2016. Although the DID rate of all 'Antibacterials for systemic use' (J01) increased over the years, the number of prescriptions per dentist decreased since 2013. The high prescription level of amoxicillin with an enzyme inhibitor is particularly worrying. It indicates that there is a need for comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for Belgian dentists.