Treatment Patterns for Pediatric Acute Otitis Media: A Gap in Evidence-Based Theory and Clinical Practice
Courtney Boatright, Lygia Holcomb, and William Replogle
Unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics is costly, leads to serious unintended side effects, and increases the risk of developing antibiotic resistance. Children are at high risk of receiving unnecessary antibiotics because they consume more antibiotics than any other age group, likely due to inaccurate prescribing by health care providers. Treatment of acute otitis media is the most common reason children are prescribed antibiotics. Evidence-based guidelines regarding the appropriate treatment of nonsevere acute otitis media in children have been established. A retrospective, descriptive, chart review project was completed comparing the diagnosis and treatment of acute otitis media in children six months to 12 years of age in clinics and the emergency department of a large academic medical center with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ treatment guidelines. Findings of the chart review included 100 patient encounters. Documentation indicated that although none of these children with acute otitis media met the guideline criteria for antibiotics, 92 of the 100 children were prescribed antibiotics.