Adding new evidence to the debate on the best treatment for middle-ear infections, or acute otitis media, in young children, clinical researchers at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have found antibiotics to be more effective than a placebo in relieving symptoms
Most American children with middle-ear infections are treated with antibiotics. But for children with mild symptoms, US clinical practice guidelines generally recommend watchful waiting, reserving antibiotics for children whose symptoms do not improve with time. In contrast, responding to concerns about the overuse of antibiotics, doctors in many European countries follow a strategy of watchful waiting for nearly all cases of middle-ear infections in children. Previous trials comparing the two strategies yielded conflicting results, chiefly, say the authors of the current study, because of differences among the trials in the definition of middle-ear infections.
These findings appear in the January 13th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
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