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Evidence-Based Resource Summary

Strength of Evidence: 
4 out of 4
4 out of 4
Year Published: 

Antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media in Children

Description of Resource: 
Acute otitis media (AOM), or middle ear infection, is one of the most common infections in early infancy and childhood and is often treated with antibiotics. This systematic review sought to compare 1) the clinical effectiveness and safety of antibiotics against placebo in children with AOM and 2) the clinical effectiveness and safety of antibiotics against expectant observation in children with AOM. In expectant observation, prescriptions may or may not be provided. For the review of antibiotics against placebo, 13 trials were identified. For the review of antibiotics against expectant observation, 5 trials were identified. This review found that antibiotics were not very useful for most children with AOM compared with placebo. Antibiotics seem to be most beneficial in children younger than age 2 with infection in both ears and in children with both AOM and a discharging ear. There was no difference between immediate antibiotics and expectant observational approaches.

Evidence-Based Resource Details

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Developed By: 
Cochrane Review
Developer Type: 
Non-Federal Government
Healthy People 2020 Topic Area(s): 
Hearing and Other Sensory or Communication Disorders
Healthy People 2020 Objectives: 
Resource Type: 
Systematic Review
Venekamp RP, Sanders SL, Glasziou PP, Del Mar CB, Rovers MM. Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2017 Dec 29];(6). Art. No.: CD000219. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000219.pub4. Available from: