January 13, 2011
Ear Infections in Kids: Medicate or Wait?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Physicians often debate over the best treatment strategy for middle-ear infections in young children. However, a new study shows antibiotics are more effective at relieving symptoms than a placebo.
Most kids with middle-ear infections are treated with antibiotics in the United States. However, guidelines suggest physicians should "watch and wait" for children with mild symptoms to see if they improve. In many European countries, doctors adopt the watchful waiting plan for nearly all middle-ear infections in kids. Previous studies have shown conflicting results when comparing the two strategies.
Authors of the study caution that the benefits of antibiotic treatment must be weighed against the potential side effects. There is also a risk of antimicrobial resistance that must be considered, according to the researchers.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 12, 2011