Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children
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Background Acute otitis media (AOM) is one of the most common diseases in early infancy and childhood. Antibiotic use for AOM varies from 56% in the Netherlands to 95% in the USA, Canada and Australia. Objectives To assess the effects of antibiotics for children with AOM. Search methods We searched CENTRAL (2012, Issue 10), MEDLINE (1966 to October week 4, 2012), OLDMEDLINE (1958 to 1965), EMBASE (January 1990 to November 2012), Current Contents (1966 to November 2012), CINAHL (2008 to November 2012) and LILACS (2008 to November 2012). Selection criteria Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing 1) antimicrobial drugs with placebo and 2) immediate antibiotic treatment with expectant observation (including delayed antibiotic prescribing) in children with AOM. Data collection and analysis Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Main results For the review of antibiotics against placebo, 12 RCTs (3317 children and 3854 AOM episodes) from high-income countries were eligible. However, one trial did not report patient-relevant outcomes, leaving 11 trials with generally low risk of bias. Pain was not reduced by antibiotics at 24 hours (risk ratio (RR) 0.89; 95%confidence interval (CI) 0.78 to 1.01) but almost a third fewer had residual pain at two to three days (RR 0.70; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.86; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 20) and fewer had pain at four to seven days (RR 0.79; 95% CI 0.66 to 0.95; NNTB 20). When compared with placebo, antibiotics did not alter the number of abnormal tympanometry findings at either four to six weeks (RR 0.92; 95%CI 0.83 to 1.01) or at three months
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