Short-Course Antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media
Description of Resource:
Acute otitis media (AOM), or middle ear infection, is a common childhood illness. More than half of all children have at least 1 infection by age 7. Although otitis media often resolves without treatment, it is frequently treated with antibiotics. The length of treatment varies widely. This systematic review of 49 trials found that treating children with a short course (less than 7 days) of antibiotics, compared to treatment with a long course (7 or more days) of antibiotics, increases the likelihood of treatment failure in the short term. No differences are seen 1 month later. The amount of gastrointestinal adverse events decreased with a shorter course of antibiotics. Clinicians need to evaluate whether the minimal short-term benefit is worth exposing children to a longer course of antibiotics.