A CBC feature indicated that the province of NL is leading the country in the rate of antibiotic prescriptions by health professionals. I contacted Dr. Peter Daley to ask him about the importance of this issue for dentistry; to shed some light about the level of risk that Canada is currently at; and what we can do to reverse the trend.
Dr. Peter Daley is Associate Professor of Medicine at Memorial University in St John’s Newfoundland and the regional director of the medical microbiology laboratory and consultant in infectious diseases.
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Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager
Health professionals in Newfoundland and Labrador are leading the country in prescribing antibiotics, and Dr. Peter Daley, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial University, says this has to change.
The rate of antibiotics being prescribed is stable when ideally, the prescription rate should be declining. On World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Dr. Chiraz Guessaier spoke with Dr. Peter Daley, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial University, to learn more about this phenomenon.
The issue of antibiotic overuse has been a continuous struggle since the emergence of antibiotics and as they have become more commonplace. In many instances, they are used unnecessarily for viral infections and in disease prevention when there is no clear indication for use. Subsequently, the result is drug-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic use in animals and agriculture is widespread as well and it is an additional factor in creating drug resistance of bacteria in animals. It is now suspected that these same bacteria cause disease in humans. At the federal level in Canada, the “one health” approach is being adopted, indicating that whatever happens in veterinary medicine influences human medicine.
Dentists prescribe ~8% of antibiotics in Canada. The article by Marra et al. showed a 60% increase in antibiotic use in B.C. This may be explained, in part, by the use of prophylaxis for certain dental procedures.
The reduction in antibiotic use could be accomplished by:
- Measuring the rate of antibiotic prescriptions.
- Directing physicians and dentists to refuse to prescribe an antibiotic when a patient asks for it.
- Educate patients to the fact that antibiotics are useless in treating minor viral infections and about the availability of potential alternative therapies.
Full Interview (8.11″)