Eardrops Most Effective in Tympanostomy-Tube Otorrhea

Outcomes better than treatment with oral antibiotics or observation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Children with acute tympanostomy-tube otorrhea have significantly better outcomes after treatment with antibiotic-glucocorticoid eardrops compared with oral antibiotics or initial observation, according to a study published in the Feb. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Thijs M. A. van Dongen, M.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues randomly assigned 230 children (1 to 10 years old) with acute tympanostomy-tube otorrhea to hydrocortisone-bacitracin-colistin eardrops, oral amoxicillin-clavulanate suspension, or initial observation.

After two weeks, the researchers found that children treated with antibiotic-glucocorticoid eardrops had significantly better outcomes. A significantly smaller percentage of these children had otorrhea (5 percent versus 44 percent for oral antibiotics and 55 percent for observation). The median duration of otorrhea was also significantly shorter for the antibiotic-glucocorticoid eardrop group (four days versus five days for oral antibiotics and 12 days for observation). Only mild treatment-related adverse events were observed and no complications of otitis media were reported.

"Antibiotic-glucocorticoid eardrops were more effective than oral antibiotics and initial observation in children with tympanostomy tubes who had uncomplicated acute otorrhea," van Dongen and colleagues conclude.

One author disclosed receiving grant support through their institution from GlaxoSmithKline.

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