Introduction

A patient’s overall health status determines the patient’s ability to undergo and respond to dental care. Consequently, patient-specific problems that may interfere with the clinical process must be identified. In determining perioperative risk, clinicians must consider past and present illnesses, major hospitalizations, history of drug allergies and other adverse drug reactions (ADRs), dietary supplements and special diets, and medications taken by the patient.1

In the United States there are approximately 500 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved active ingredients (therapeutic agents) in several thousand different formulations. ClinCalc DrugStats provides prescription drug utilization data estimates based on the annual Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).2 The list of the Top Prescription Drugs of 2017 reflects data collected in 2014 and is based on more than 3.187 billion out-patient prescriptions.2

The Top 200 Prescription Drugs of 2017 represent 40% of the available 500 active ingredients and comprise 90% of all prescription drugs taken by ambulatory patients in 2014.2 The Top 300 Prescription Drugs of 2017 represent 60% of the available 500 active ingredients and comprise 97% of all prescription drugs taken by ambulatory patients in 2014.2 These data are invaluable in identifying patient-specific risks factors in ambulatory settings.

The Top 300 Prescription Drugs of 2017 include 38 agents, prescribed primary by physicians, for the treatment of respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and genitourinary (GU) conditions. In relation to these drugs, minimum competency by oral healthcare providers assumes knowledge in the following four areas: (1) recognition of drugs by name (brand/generic); (2) indications for their use; (3) familiarity with potential ADRs; and (4) the use of reliable informational resources.

DailyMed, a useful online resource, is the official repository for FDA-approved package inserts, i.e., for individual drug-related, clinically relevant data.3 The posted information is the most recent submitted to the FDA by pharmaceutical companies and includes strengthened warnings undergoing FDA review. The information is accurate; whenever possible, it is based on human experience, and does not contain promotional or misleading information such as implied claims.