Penetration of Amoxicillin, Cefaclor, Erythromycin-Sulfisoxazole, and Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole Into the Middle Ear Fluid of Patients With Chronic Serous Otitis Media

J Infect Dis. 1982 Jun;145(6):815-21. doi: 10.1093/infdis/145.6.815.


Penetration into the middle ear of four antibiotics commonly used in treatment of otitis media was studied by administering a single oral dose of amoxicillin, cefaclor, erythromycin-sulfisoxazole, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole to 83 children with chronic serous otitis media. The antibiotic was given 15-240 min before the removal of middle ear fluid (MEF) by ventilation tubes inserted through the tympanic membrane. At the time MEF was obtained, a sample of blood was drawn from the patient, and concentrations of antibiotic in both specimens were assayed either microbiologically by a disk diffusion method or by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Amoxicillin had the highest ratio of mean peak concentration in MEF to minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) for the three most common pathogens of otitis media (Streptococcus pneumoniae, ampicillin-sensitive Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus pyogenes), whereas trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole had the highest ratio of mean peak concentration in MEF to MIC for ampicillin-resistant Haemophilus influenzae.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amoxicillin / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cefaclor / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Ear, Middle / metabolism*
  • Erythromycin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / drug therapy*
  • Sulfamethoxazole / metabolism
  • Sulfisoxazole / metabolism
  • Trimethoprim / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Erythromycin
  • Cefaclor
  • Sulfisoxazole
  • Amoxicillin
  • Trimethoprim
  • Sulfamethoxazole