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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Dec;12(6):559-63. doi: 10.1007/s11882-012-0309-9.

Treatment of acute otitis media in young children.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Faculty Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA.


Although acute otitis media (AOM) is one of the most common pediatric problems, the debate over treatment, especially in young children, continues. The 2004 Guideline on treatment of AOM stated that observation without antimicrobial therapy was an option for selected children 6-24 months of age with AOM. Two recent randomized trials sought to determine the necessity of antimicrobial treatment in young children; both studies found modest, statistically significant, positive effects of treatment. However, these studies provoked a flurry of discussion in the literature and the issue remains unsettled. That prevention is preferable to treatment is not controversial. Eliminating or modifying risk factors and use of vaccines, both bacterial and viral, may help decrease the number of AOM episodes. The discussion on treatment of AOM in young children must also take into account side effects of treatment and effect of treatment on possible long-lasting sequelae of AOM, such as developmental outcomes.

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