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Ear Infections: Antibiotics Not Necessary

Written by Randall Neustaedter OMD, LAc, CCH   
Thursday, 01 September 2005 00:00

A landmark study published in Pediatrics has shown that treating ear infections with antibiotics has no benefit when compared to doing nothing (McCormick 2005). In this study 223 children were divided into two groups. One group received antibiotics, the other group received only medicines for symptom relief. The study sought to evaluate several outcomes including (1) parent satisfaction with their child’s care, (2) resolution of symptoms, and (3) failure and recurrence rate. The study was limited to nonsevere ear infections. The severity was determined by parents' perception of the severity and by examination of the eardrum.

Ear InfectionsResults of the study were dramatic. Parent satisfaction was equal in the two groups at both 12 days and 30 days after treatment. No difference was observed between the two groups in days of work or school missed, visits to doctors’ offices or emergency rooms, or number of phone calls. There was no difference in the recurrence rate by day 30, and no difference in the clinical examination of the children's eardrums at day 30.

This study should finally prove that antibiotics are not necessary or beneficial in the management of nonsevere ear infections. Even when no treatment was utilized there was no significant difference in outcome.



Pathways Issue 7 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #07.

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