Do antibiotics help to cure earache?

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Do antibiotics help to cure earache?

Acute Otitis Media (AOM - a middle ear infection) is common in childhood. A child with AOM is distressed, has pain and is unhappy and the parents will be concerned and eager for something to be done. Many expect a prescription for antibiotics if they go their GP and the GP may feel under pressure and find it easier to write the prescription rather than explain why one is not needed. Much has been written about the effectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment of AOM. Meta-analyses (statistical anaylses that combine results of several studies to give an overall estimate) have shown that antibiotics have not been proved to be beneficial or that the benefit is modest. (See the SMAC report for more details) In addition it is difficult to predict which child will benefit from antibiotics.

Related Resources
Acute Otitis Media
Antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media
Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children (Cochrane Review)
Self Help Guide for Earache in Children
Resources about Ear infections
Fluid in the middle ear
Short course antibiotics for acute otitis media (Cochrane Review)

Date of Posting: 20/01/2003
Date of next Review: 15/01/2005

Related Questions:
So should antibiotics be routinely prescribed for AOM?
So how else can I relieve earache?

MeSH keywords:
Antibiotics; Earache; Otitis Media

Created by CeRC. Page last updated 15/1/2004. To contact us click here.

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