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BMJ. 1996 Nov 9;313(7066):1180-4.

Xylitol chewing gum in prevention of acute otitis media: double blind randomised trial.

Author information

1
Department of Paediatrics, University of Oulu, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether xylitol, which reduces the growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae, might have clinical importance in the prevention of acute otitis media.

DESIGN:

A double blind randomised trial with xylitol administered in chewing gum.

SETTING:

Eleven day care nurseries in the city of Oulu. Most of the children had had problems with recurrent acute otitis media.

SUBJECTS:

306 day care children: 149 children in the sucrose group (76 boys; mean (SD) age 4.9 (1.5) years) and 157 in the xylitol group (80 boys; 5.0 (1.4) years).

INTERVENTION:

Either xylitol (8.4 g a day) or sucrose (control) chewing gum for two months.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The occurrence of acute otitis media and antimicrobial treatment received during the intervention and nasopharyngeal carriage of S pneumoniae.

RESULTS:

During the two month monitoring period at least one event of acute otitis media was experienced by 31/149 (20.8%) children who received sucrose compared with 19/157 (12.1%) of those receiving chewing gum containing xylitol (difference 8.7%; 95% confidence interval 0.4% to 17.0%; P = 0.04). Significantly fewer antimicrobials were prescribed among those receiving xylitol: 29/157 (18.5%) children had at least one period of treatment versus 43/149 (28.9%) (difference 10.4%; 0.9% to 19.9%; P = 0.032). The carriage rate of S pneumoniae varied from 17.4% to 28.2% with no difference between the groups. Two children in the xylitol group experienced diarrhoea, but no other adverse effects were noted among the xylitol users.

CONCLUSION:

Xylitol seems to have a preventive effect against acute otitis media.

PMID:
8916749
PMCID:
PMC2352484
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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