Antibiotic and opioid prescribing for dental-related conditions in emergency departments: United States, 2012 through 2014.

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Antibiotic and opioid prescribing for dental-related conditions in emergency departments: United States, 2012 through 2014.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2020 Jan 17;:

Authors: Roberts RM, Bohm MK, Bartoces MG, Fleming-Dutra KE, Hicks LA, Chalmers NI

BACKGROUND: Patients visiting the emergency department (ED) for nontraumatic dental conditions usually receive nondefinitive health care and are referred to treatment elsewhere. This may lead to potentially avoidable antibiotic and opioid use.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted in IBM MarketScan Research Databases in Treatment Pathways from 2012 through 2014. This study included patients with commercial insurance or enrolled in Medicaid. Patients receiving a diagnosis of a dental condition in the ED with no secondary diagnosis warranting an antibiotic prescription were included. Patients were stratified on the basis of the primary payer and available demographics, as well as on the basis of repeat visits to the ED.
RESULTS: A higher proportion of Medicaid beneficiaries (280,410, 4.9%) had dental-related visits compared with the commercially insured (159,066, 1.3%). The most common diagnoses were similar for both groups and included caries. In both cohorts, the 18- through 34-year age group had the highest rate of dental-related ED visits. Within 7 days of a dental-related ED visit, 54.9% of Medicaid beneficiaries and 55.0% of commercially insured beneficiaries filled a prescription for an antibiotic and 39.6% of Medicaid patients and 42.0% of commercially insured patients filled an opioid prescription.
CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotics and opioids are frequently prescribed during ED visits for dental conditions. Access to preventive and acute oral health care for routine dental symptoms, such as caries, may reduce unnecessary prescriptions in both the commercially insured and Medicaid beneficiary populations.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Treatment of dental conditions in the ED often indicates a lack of access to preventive or acute oral health care. Data-driven solutions, such as guideline implementation, could improve oral health access, reduce medication-related harms, and avert health care expenditures.

PMID: 31959329 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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