Knowledge of drug prescription in dentistry students
R Guzmán-Álvarezv,1 M Medeiros,2,3 LI Reyes Lagunes,4 AE Campos-Sepúlveda1
1Pharmacology Department, UNAM School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mexico City, 2Pharmacology Clinical Seminar, UNAM School of Medicine, Mexico City, 3Medical Sciences Department, Mexico Federico Gómez Children's Hospital, Mexico City, 4Measuring and Evaluation Unit, UNAM School of Psychology, Mexico City, Mexico
Background: Students in schools of dentistry attend to patients with illnesses, and often prescribe medication. Because students are still learning, they are influenced by a variety of factors: the different teaching approaches of the professors at the clinics and in the pharmacology course, fellow students, and even the information provided by the pharmaceutical industry.
Objectives: The aim of this pilot study was to assess the prescription knowledge and common mistakes in fourth-year students at the School of Dentistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Methods: In March 2010, a survey was conducted among 66 fourth-year students at the School of Dentistry, applying a previously validated questionnaire consisting of six open-ended questions The following factors were assessed: the most frequent illness requiring dental prescription; the most prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics; the most frequent errors; sources of information used for prescribing drugs; and whether the students knew and followed the World Health Organization Guide to Good Prescribing.
Results: The most frequent response for each question was considered the most significant. The most common reason for prescribing medication was infection (n = 37, 56%), followed by pain (n = 24, 38%); the most used painkillers were ibuprofen and acetaminophen at equal levels (n = 25, 37.8%), followed by ketorolac (n = 7, 10.6%), naproxen (n = 6, 9.1%), diclofenac (n = 2, 3%), and aspirin (n = 1, 1.5%); the most widely prescribed antibiotics were amoxicillin (n = 52, 78.9%), ampicillin (n = 7, 10.6%), and penicillin V and clindamycin (n = 3, 4.5%). The most frequent errors reported by students were: lack of knowledge about drug posology (n = 49, 74.2%), improperly filled prescriptions (n = 7, 10.7%), not knowing the brand names and uncertainty about the correct drug indicated for each case (n = 3, 4.54%), not knowing the duration of treatment (n = 2, 3%), not asking the patient about possible allergies, and not giving prescriptions (n = 1, 1.5%). The sources of information used by students for prescribing drugs included the professors at the clinics (n = 49, 74.2%), the pharmacology course (n = 7, 10.7%), medical dictionary consultation (n = 15, 22.72%), classmate support (n = 3, 4.54%), and information provided by medical representatives from pharmaceutical companies (n = 1, 1.5%). Finally, only 20 students (30.3%) followed the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing, 40 students acknowledged not following it (60.6%), and six students (9.1%) had no knowledge of it.
Conclusion: The knowledge of pharmacology among fourth-year students in the School of Dentistry has gaps that could affect patient safety. More studies are needed to determine whether this issue affects the quality of patient care and the effectiveness and safety of treatments. Since prescribing accurately is extremely important, it is necessary to develop therapeutic guidelines, and to provide pharmacological therapy courses. The implementation of educational programs, including the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing and Patient Safety Curriculum Guide, would be beneficial in helping students develop prescribing skills.
Keywords: prescription, dentistry prescription, most used NSAIDs by dentists, most used antibiotics, dentist prescribing errors, sources of information for prescribing, WHO Guide to Good Prescribing
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