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Br J Gen Pract. 2001 Feb;51(463):132-3.

Treatment of acute otitis media: are children entered into clinical trials representative?

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Tayside Centre for General Practice, University of Dundee, Kirsty Semple Way, Dundee DD2 4AD.


This study involved a meta-analysis of randomised control studies of the treatment of acute otitis media and judged the characteristics of these trials on the basis of methods, age groups, interventions, and outcomes. An investigation of the eight trials reported in the meta-analysis of clinical trials revealed that the number of children entered per doctor in all practices was low and that the recruitment rate was probably lower than 44%. Low recruitment rates indicate that the type of children entered into trials may only relate to those with mild to moderate symptoms and signs, which could explain why the results of these trials show that antibiotics are not essential in treating acute otitis media.

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