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J Emerg Med. 2007 Apr;32(3):279-84. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Pediatric acute otitis media: the case for delayed antibiotic treatment.

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Emergency Medicine Department, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101, USA.


Acute otitis media (AOM) is both a commonly diagnosed condition and a frequent indication for antibiotic use in children. Recent literature suggests that antibiotics are not needed in many children with AOM, as most cases resolve spontaneously without complication. However, a majority of AOM infections in children are still treated with antibiotics. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians released a guideline for treatment of AOM in children. We review the guideline as well as scientific evidence related to AOM treatment options. We support a set of evidence-based guidelines employing a delayed prescription option for antibiotic therapy in selected children. If used appropriately, these cost-effective guidelines will reduce the amount of antibiotics prescribed, increase parental satisfaction, and may lower rates of antibiotic resistance while producing similar rates of resolution of AOM.

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