OBJECTIVES: Pharmacists are known as medicine experts. Dentists can independently prescribe and administer medications related to dental conditions such as antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories and analgesics. However, little is known about pharmacists' knowledge and perceptions of medicines prescribed for dentistry. Therefore, this study aimed to assess community pharmacists' ability to identify the indications for dental prescriptions using hypothetical vignettes.
METHODS: Australian community pharmacists were invited through email and social media to undertake a web-based questionnaire consisting of nine case vignettes of dental prescriptions and their indicated uses in dental settings and two perception-based questions. The results were provided as a percentage of the correct answers to the case vignettes. In addition, Pearson chi-square tests were performed to examine associations between categorical variables.
KEY FINDINGS: Of the 202 pharmacists who completed the questionnaire, the mean number of correct responses was 5 ± 2 (out of 9). More than three-quarters (78.5%) of pharmacists believed that thorough knowledge of prescriptions for dental ailments was necessary for safe and effective community pharmacy practice. In addition, nearly two-thirds (64.1%) felt confident that they could dispense medicines indicated for dental conditions safely and effectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge demonstrated by participants through correct identification of the indications for dental prescription was less than optimal. Professional development courses for pharmacists in dental ailments could prove beneficial.