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Antibiotic resistance among patients with severe periodontal disease is increasing

Prof. Søren Jepsen, pictured here at the EuroPerio9 Opening Press Conference, was a co-author of the study. (Photograph: EFP)

Fri. 22. June 2018


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise among German patients with severe periodontitis according to the findings of a study—titled “Antibiotic resistance trends in human periodontitis microbiota (2008–2015)”—presented at EuroPerio9 by co-author Friederike Brune. As such, the ability to treat infections and heal patients with periodontitis is being compromised, with health authorities warning about a global crisis of antimicrobial resistance threatening the benefits achieved with antibiotics since the early twentieth century.

“Our aim in undertaking this study was to determine the occurrence of in vitro antibiotic resistance among samples of bacteria taken from the gingivae of periodontitis patients,” said Prof. Søren Jepsen, co-author of the study. “Overall, we found that the four key bacteria selected for our study were resistant to at least one of the antibiotics tested. In the data we collected, we also found increasing resistance trends for three of the bacterial species, raising concerns over the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the treatment of periodontal disease.”

At present, most systemic periodontal antibiotic treatment is prescribed without guidance from a prior microbiological analysis. When the targeted periodontal pathogens are resistant or poorly susceptible to the antibiotic drug selected, the risk of treatment failure increases. According to Jepsen, health professionals have a responsibility to prescribe antibiotics only when they are truly needed. Together with strategies for the rational use of antibiotics, health authorities should improve local and global surveillance of resistant bacteria. As such, next-generation sequencing methods to define relevant resistomes within the microbes are needed in order to further the design of diagnostics and therapeutics for the treatment of infections with resistant bacteria.

Jepsen announced that the European Workshop in Periodontology, run by the EFP, is planning to develop guidelines about this crucial topic in 2019.

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