Scientific Program – Friday, February 15, 2019

  • Speaker: Dr. Mark Donaldson
  • Program: “Money Makes the World Go Round, But Drugs Can Make it Spin!” & “Illicit Drugs and the Dental Patient”
  • Date: Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Time: 8:30am – 1:30pm (5 hrs.)
  • Venue: Victoria Conference Centre
  • Registration: opens at 7:45am
  • Snack Break: 10:30-11:00am

“Money Makes the World Go Round, But Drugs Can Make it Spin!” Description:

Patient Assessment, Drugs and Herbal Interactions

Did you know that more than 20% of hospital admissions are due to adverse drug reactions? Just because dentists prescribe less than 10% of all available drugs, your patients may be taking others from the 90% with which you are not familiar. Since polypharmacy is the norm, especially in the over 65 year old population, this course should be considered essential to every practice setting today.

Do you have patients who are already on one prescription medication before they come to your office? How about four prescription medications? Did you know that the likelihood of a drug interaction in a patient on five medications is greater than 50%?  What if you are the prescriber who writes that fifth prescription? With so many new medications, herbal products, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements available on the market, how can you be confident that the prescription you write is compatible with what your patient is currently taking?

This interactive program looks at some of the more common drugs and drug interactions and their management with a particular focus on the dental realm. Case studies will augment the delivery of key points and a problem-based learning approach is encouraged so that each participant’s questions are addressed. The program will conclude with a discussion of references and demonstration of some available databases. After all, when an adverse drug reaction occurs due to a drug interaction, who is more at risk – you or your patient?

Objectives to be covered:

  • Describe the potential for drug-drug interactions and articulate strategies to avoid or manage them.
  • Understand the principles of drug metabolism including liver enzyme induction and inhibition.
  • Discuss the role of cytochrome P450 isoenzymes in the liver with respect to drug metabolism.
  • Describe at least three disease states attributable for induced metabolism and three disease states attributable for inhibited metabolism.
  • Recognize reputable databases and references and how to utilize these tools to evaluate drug therapies and herbal interactions.

“Illicit Drugs and the Dental Patient” Description:

What about all those drugs I didn’t (formally) learn about in school? 

Have you ever had to face the prospect of treating a medically-complex patient? Have you ever had a patient needing treatment for a dental emergency who has more than one underlying chronic disease? What about your patients of record who are on more than five medications? Now what if these same patients are also experimenting with illicit drugs? How does the use of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, crack, Salvia divinorum, khat bush, or designer drugs such as MDPV change your treatment plan?

Drug abuse remains a major problem in our society. According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), between 2006 and 2008 an estimated 4.3 million (4.7%) adults aged 50 or older had used an illicit drug in the previous year. Moreover, the organization’s combined data from 2002 to 2007 showed that over 8.3 million children (11.9%) lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or an illicit drug during the past year. Among that population almost 2.1 million (3.0%) lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs. Young adults aged 18 to 25 have been shown to be the most likely to use methamphetamine.

Providing dental care to anxious, fearful and medically-complex patients continues to be a major challenge facing dentists. Now more than ever, dental professionals are faced with the additional challenge of treating these patients’ oral health needs in the face of potential illicit drug use such that the simple approach to, “drilling and filling” has just been cranked up a few more notches.

If substance abuse and dependence affects one in ten Americans, this means one in ten of your patients. This interactive program looks at some of these most challenging patients, their most common negative sequelae due to illicit drug use and the management of these patients with a particular focus on the dental realm. Case studies will augment the delivery of key points and a problem-based learning approach is encouraged so that each participant’s questions are addressed.  Most importantly, you will learn directly applicable strategies to successfully treat these medically-complex patients on Monday morning. After all, our goal is to make sure all dental appointments are not just successful for your patient, but also for you and your staff.

Objectives to be covered:

  • Discuss the four main challenges of medically complex dental patients.
  • Understand the concept of risk and how to select and de-select appropriate patients.
  • Describe the risk factors to consider when treating patients who use illicit drugs.
  • Recognize some of the oral signs of illicit drug use and how to better manage these patients.
  • Understand the pathophysiology of drug-xerostomia and current treatment options.
  • Learn how to help make all of your appointments successful for you, your Team and your patients.


Dr. Mark Donaldson received his baccalaureate degree from the University of British Columbia and his Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Washington. He completed a residency at Vancouver General Hospital, and has practiced as a clinical pharmacy specialist, clinical coordinator and director of pharmacy services at many healthcare organizations in both Canada and the United States. He is currently the Associate Principal of Clinical Pharmacy for Vizient’s Advisory Solutions, and lives in Whitefish, Montana.

Dr. Donaldson is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Montana in Missoula, and Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry at the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. He has a special interest in dental pharmacology and has lectured internationally to both dental and medical practitioners. He has spent the last 20 years focusing on dental pharmacology and dental therapeutics, and is a leader in the field.

Dr. Donaldson has published numerous peer-reviewed works and textbook chapters. He currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal Healthcare Executive and the Journal of the American Dental Association and is a reviewer for over ten other different journals. He is board certified in healthcare management and is the Past-President and current Regent of the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Montana Chapter. Dr. Donaldson was named as the 2014 recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia for the state of Montana and is the 2016 recipient of the Dr. Thaddeus V. Weclew Award. This award is conferred upon an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the medical, dental and pharmacy literature.