Acute otitis media in children

BMJ Clin Evid. 2014 Sep 16:2014:0301.


Introduction: Acute otitis media (AOM) is a common reason for primary care visits in children. Yet, there is considerable debate on the most effective treatment.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments (analgesics, antibiotics, and myringotomy) in children with AOM? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2013 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 17 studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: analgesics, antibiotics, delayed antibiotics, immediate antibiotics, longer courses of antibiotics, and myringotomy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Middle Ear Ventilation*
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Otitis Media / surgery*


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents