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Pediatr Emerg Med Pract. 2013 Apr;10(4):1-26; quiz 26-7.

An evidence-based approach to managing acute otitis media.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Acute otitis media is one of the most common pediatric illnesses; however, there is considerable controversy in its management. While most cases are treated with antibiotics, there is a growing concern regarding antibiotic overuse and subsequent drug resistance. Researchers in the Netherlands have developed a "watchful waiting" (ie, an observation approach) that has been successful in treating acute otitis media, although it has not gained widespread popularity in the United States. This review will summarize the latest research on diagnosing acute otitis media as well as different treatment regimens, including the efficacy of the watchful-waiting approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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