Topical vs. Systemic Treatments
For Acute Otitis Media
Kathy Thornton, Francie Parrish, Christine Swords
Acute otitis media (AOM) is a common condition in children that is often treated
with systemic antibiotic therapy; however, research suggests that non-complicated
AOM will resolve spontaneously using only eardrops. To determine best practice
for the use of systematic antibiotics compared to topical treatment of AOM,
a systematic review of evidence was conducted. Cochrane, Medline, CINAHL,
and other databases were searched. Inclusion criteria were studies published
from 1995-2010 that included children with AOM and were randomized controlled
trials (RCTs). Five systematic reviews and five RCTs were included in the review.
Current evidence recommends using topical and other alternative approaches for
treating non-complicated AOM in children 2 years of age or older; however, many
practitioners are not currently following these recommendations for various reasons.
Additional research to address these reasons may help determine how to
improve practitioner adherence to best practice evidence and guidelines to help
reduce the unnecessary use of systemic antibiotics.