Modern management of otitis media

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1989 Dec;36(6):1371-87. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(16)36794-3.


In summary, infants and children who have acute otitis media should receive antimicrobial therapy. Amoxicillin is the standard of therapy for infants and children with acute otitis media, because it is safe and effective for most of the causative bacterial pathogens. Amoxicillin has also been shown to be effective for treatment of selected children with otitis media with effusion ("secretory" otitis media) and is the recommended prophylactic antimicrobial agent for prevention of frequently recurrent acute otitis media. During the past decade, however, an increasing rate of bacteria that are resistant to amoxicillin has occurred, primarily beta-lactamase-producing H. influenzae and B. catarrhalis. Because of the emergence of these bacteria, other antimicrobial agents, both old and new, have been advocated for treatment and prevention of otitis media; amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefuroxime axetil, and cefixime are the newer agents. These agents are indicated for selected infants and children; however, for most patients, amoxicillin remains a safe and relatively inexpensive effective drug. The common surgical procedures, such as myringotomy with tympanostomy tube insertion, and adenoidectomy with myringotomy with or without tympanostomy tube insertion, have now been shown to be effective for patients who have recurrent acute otitis media and chronic otitis media with effusion. The decision for or against these procedures should not only include consultation with an otolaryngologist but should also involve the parents and the child, if old enough. The risks, costs, and benefits of nonsurgical and surgical management should be discussed with all parties concerned.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / microbiology
  • Otitis Media / therapy*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / microbiology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Referral and Consultation