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Systemic medicines taken by adult special care dental patients and implications for the management of their care


Introduction Significant changes have taken place in the profile of prescription medicines being taken by the adult UK population over the last decade. The aims of this article are to review the literature to understand the overall trends and underlying factors, and then to compare this with the medication profile of a cohort of adult special care dental (SCD) patients.

Materials and method Five hundred patient records were examined and retrospective data on systemic medicines being taken were obtained and classified according to the index used in the British National Formulary (BNF).

Results The results revealed a high level of polypharmacy with 57% of SCD patients taking three or more medicines compared to 24% of the population in England. Antiepileptic drugs were the most frequently taken group of medicines (42%), followed by antidepressants (39.7%) and antipsychotics (37.6%).

Conclusions Our results demonstrate the medical complexity of patients in this cohort and enable clinicians to increase their familiarity with the most commonly taken medicines and the tools available to manage the implications for dental care.

Key points

  • Highlights the importance of the medication list in assessing a patient's medical history.

  • Provides an overview of the most commonly taken medicines that clinicians are likely to come across in adults including those accessing specialist special care dentistry.

  • Covers the implications for dental care and summarises the clinical tools available to manage them.

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The authors would like to thank Dr Rupert Ransford, Consultant Gastroenterologist and British Society of Gastroenterology Clinical Guidelines Lead; Dr Alex Crighton, Consultant/Honorary Senior Lecturer in Oral Medicine; Dr Nick Walker, Occupational Health Physician; Anne-Marie Rawlins for data capture; and Heather Lewis for the presentation of Appendix 1.

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Ransford, N., Marnell, B., Randall, C. et al. Systemic medicines taken by adult special care dental patients and implications for the management of their care. Br Dent J 231, 33–42 (2021).

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