Antibiotics Benefit Acute Ear Infections in Young Children

Otitis media symptoms are reduced more quickly with amoxicillin-clavulanate compared with placebo

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Children with acute otitis media appear to benefit from antimicrobial treatment with amoxicillin-clavulanate, according to two articles published in the Jan. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Paula A. Tahtinen, M.D., of the Turku University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues randomly assigned children aged 6 to 35 months with acute otitis media to amoxicillin-clavulanate or placebo to examine time to treatment failure, which occurred in 18.6 percent of the treatment group and 44.9 percent of the placebo group. The drug therapy reduced progression to treatment failure by 62 percent and need for rescue treatment by 81 percent, though adverse events were significantly more common in the treatment group.

Alejandro Hoberman, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues randomized 291 children aged 6 to 23 months with acute otitis media to amoxicillin-clavulanate or placebo. Initial resolution of symptoms at days two, four, and seven occurred in 35, 61, and 80 percent of the treatment group and in 28, 54, and 74 percent of the placebo group (P = 0.14 for overall comparison). Corresponding figures for sustained resolution of symptoms were 20, 41, and 67 percent in the treatment group and 14, 36, and 53 percent in the placebo group (P = 0.04 for overall comparison). Children in the treatment group also had a lower rate of clinical failure.

"Treatment with amoxicillin clavulanate for 10 days tended to reduce the time to resolution of symptoms and reduced the overall symptom burden and the rate of persistent signs of acute infection on otoscopic examination," Hoberman and colleagues conclude.

Two authors of the second article disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract - Tahtinen
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Abstract - Hoberman
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