Objectives: Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by healthcare professionals is a worldwide concern. The purpose of this study was to determine the pattern of antibiotic prescription among oral healthcare providers in India.
Methods: A one-page questionnaire was sent to 1600 oral healthcare practitioners registered under the Indian Dental Association by using multistage sampling; 552 (34.5%) responded to the survey. The data were analysed using the χ(2) test and multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results: Of 552 questionnaire respondents, 405 (73.4%) chose amoxicillin in non-allergic patients, alone [279 (50.5%)] or associated with clavulanic acid [126 (22.8%)]. The average duration of antibiotic therapy was 4.26 ± 1.26 days. The drug of first choice for patients with an allergy to penicillin was erythromycin [242 (43.8%) of respondents]. A majority prescribed antibiotics for irreversible pulpitis and acute apical periodontitis [395 (71.6%)] and necrotic pulp, acute apical periodontitis and no swelling [326 (59.1%)]. Five hundred and ten (92.4%) of the oral healthcare providers overprescribed antibiotics.
Conclusions: Oral healthcare providers in India are overprescribing, which could be a major contributor to the world problem of antimicrobial resistance. As there is overprescription of antibiotics by Indian oral healthcare providers, there is an urgent need to raise public and professional awareness regarding the risks of antibiotic use.
Keywords: India; endodontic infections; general practitioners.