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ADA supports responsible antibiotic use

June 15, 2015

By Craig Palmer

The Association supports responsible use of antibiotics, the ADA said in a statement on antibiotic stewardship posted at ADA.org. "The ADA's evidence-based approach has resulted in decreased recommended prophylactic use of antibiotics in heart patients, as well as people who have had joint replacements," the statement says.

The statement notes the Association's participation June 2 in the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship and offers links to Association resources on antibiotic prophylaxis.

The national forum underscored the importance of combating bacteria that have become resistant to drugs as a result of antibiotic overuse, said Dr. Daniel Meyer, chief science officer for ADA's Science Institute and the Association representative at the White House meeting. "Officials discussed their plans to implement changes for antibiotic stewardship over the next five years to help slow antibiotic-resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of infections," he said.

There were some "concerns expressed about the overuse and types of antibiotics used in dentistry," Dr. Meyer said. A recent study published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal analyzed oral antibiotic prescribing data representing all outpatient U.S. antibiotic prescriptions in 2011 to describe outpatient prescribing patterns.

"Numbers of prescriptions varied considerably by provider specialty," the authors said. "As anticipated, primary care providers prescribed the most courses. Among primary care providers, family practitioners prescribed the highest overall number of antibiotic courses, followed by pediatricians and internists. Of the remaining specialties, dentists prescribed the most courses, representing 10 percent of all prescriptions." An abstract is posted at cid.oxfordjournals.org.

An estimated 2 million antibiotic-resistant illnesses and 23,000 deaths occur annually in the United States, according to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

A CDC-U.S.Department of Health and Human Services partnership will provide data about antibiotic use and prescribing trends, Dr. Meyer said. "This information is designed to help physicians and providers improve antibiotic use and cut inappropriate prescribing by 50 percent in practices and 20 percent in hospitals," he said.

The ADA "will provide appropriate scientific and clinical expertise to fully assess and respond to antibiotic health care issues, offer continuing education at profession meetings and provide systematic reviews and current scientific information on the proper use of antibiotics in online resources," the White House said in a post-forum report. The Association was one of 15 participating health professional organizations cited by the White House as clinical societies that "stand out" in efforts to address this challenge.

As part of the White House forum, The Joint Commission announced its commitment to promote effective antibiotic stewardship within health care facilities. The ADA is a corporate member of The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

"As part of its commitment, The Joint Commission will begin by reviewing its current standards and work with accredited organizations and others to identify where new standards may be needed to promote effective antibiotic stewardship," the commission said.

The White House convened the forum "to bring together key human and animal health constituencies involved in antibiotic stewardship — the development, promotion and implementation of activities to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics."