Antimicrobial Prescription during COIVD in the Oral Health Program at Star health Group

Dr Dushy Umakhanthan1

1Star Health Gp, South Melbourbe, Australia

Introduction: Antibiotic resistance is a global issue, with overprescribing and misuse of antimicrobials leading to the development of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. During this COVID pandemic, Aerosol Generating Procedures ( AGP) performed by dentists have been restricted to minimise potential transmission of the virus. This abstract reviews the effect of restricting AGP on the antimicrobial stewardship activity at the Oral Health Department at Star Health Group, a Community Health Service.

All antimicrobial prescribing is monitored monthly via the item code used .The audit would establish if the medication prescribed is in accordance to evidence based best practice as per the Therapeutic guidelines Oral and Dental . The number of prescriptions given per month was compared to the same month in the previous year as a percentage of the total number of adults seen for the various months.


Year/Month                                                                          February March     April      May    June    July     August      September

Percentage of patients receiving antibiotics in 2020    6.27           3.16        14.44    7.91    11.48    2          7.66            7.58

Percentage of patients receiving antibiotics in 2019     7.23           6.34         5.31      5.23    5.1      1.8         2.53            3.24


Restrictions to (AGP) was put in place mid -March of 2020.

Even though the number of prescriptions given in the various months over the 2 years were not significantly different, the percentage of adult  patients receiving prescriptions increased during the COVID pandemic. Most prescriptions were given as treatment could not be performed. For example ,50% of the prescription given in August 2020 were as a result of treatment being postponed till after restrictions eased when AGP could be performed.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected the antimicrobial stewardship activity. Prescriptions had to be prescribed over the treatment due to the restrictions in AGP.


Dushy Umakhanthan is a Senior Dentist and Oral Health Advisor at Star Health Group. She is the chair and portfolio holder for the infection control committee at Star health. She also works in private practice and is an examiner with the Australian Dental Council. Her special interests lie in prevention and minimal intervention dentistry and looking at ways to empower the patient for life with better oral health outcomes.

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