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J Fam Pract. 2008 Jun;57(6):370-3.

Use anesthetic drops to relieve acute otitis media pain.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN USA.


A mother brings her 3-year-old son to your office first thing in the morning. The boy has fever and right ear pain. You see that the tympanic membrane is dull, red, and bulging. The mother has been up most of the night with her child. She implores you to "do something." She is exhausted and her son is crying and holding his right ear. You know that antibiotics will not provide immediate pain relief and oral analgesics will take a while to help. What can you offer that will help right away? Use 3 drops of topical 2% lidocaine drops or benzocaine to provide rapid pain relief for children with acute otitis media.


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