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Home Wellness Research Antibiotic Use Antibiotics Usually Not Necessary for Ear Infection

Antibiotics Usually Not Necessary for Ear Infection

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 15:32

For decades, chiropractors have expressed concern about the aggressive use of antibiotics in children with ear infection. Now, a study in the British Medical Journal validates that concern.

A total of 315 children, with acute otitis media were assigned to 1 of 2 cohorts: 1) a 72-hour waiting period with no antibiotic use or 2) immediate antibiotic intervention.  Findings showed that "immediate antibiotic prescription provided symptomatic benefit mainly after the first 24 hours, when symptoms were already resolving." Although children who were given antibiotics recovered an average of 1 day earlier than children who did not take the medication, no difference was seen in school absence or pain/distress scores. And, only 9% of children in the watchful waiting group developed diarrhea, compared with 19% of those taking antibiotics.

Overall, 77% of parents of children in the watchful waiting group expressed satisfaction with the care their youngsters received. In addition, these parents were less likely than parents of children who received antibiotics to predict that their youngsters would require antibiotics for subsequent ear infections.

Little P, Gould C, Williamson I, Moore M, Warner G, Dunleavey J. //  Pragmatic randomised controlled trial of two prescribing strategies for childhood acute otitis media. //  BMJ 2001 (Feb 10);   322 (7282):   336-342