Giving children antibiotics for ear infections does little to speed their recovery while raising the risk of some side effects, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study found that 80 out of 100 otherwise healthy children would recover from an acute ear infection within a few days if given medication only to relieve pain or fevers. If all 100 were given antibiotics instead, 92 would be better in the same period, said Dr. Tumaini Coker, the study's lead author, according to CNN reports.
The study was designed to modify existing research about acute otitis media, an ear infection that cause pain and fever. American Academy of Pediatrics is now in the process of revising the medical management guidelines for the said disease. They suggested an option to avoid antibiotics for treating ear infections on children between ages 2 to 12. Doctors said that antibiotics are to be used only when absolutely necessary. Overuse of these drugs can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Ear infections are commonly caused by bacteria, which can be cured by antibiotic. However, there were also ear infections that are caused by viruses, which will not respond to antibiotics. This type of ear infection is known as otitis media with effusion, which is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear, TREND informs.