Overall cost in the treatment of otitis media

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997 Feb;16(2 Suppl):S9-11. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199702001-00003.


Background: Numerous antimicrobial agents are available for treatment of otitis media (OM); however, little is known about the relative cost effectiveness of these drugs.

Methods: We developed a noninvasive, observational model to assess the total costs (direct and indirect) associated with commonly used antibiotics in the therapy of OM. We also gathered data on recurrence rates, which can significantly affect costs.

Results: The average total cost of treating an episode of OM in this study was $115.80. Treatment of a recurrent OM episode was significantly more costly than treatment of an initial episode ($124.64 vs. $107.81, P = 0.0001). This study suggests that significant costs are associated with OM treatment and that antibiotic price constitutes only a small portion of this cost. Recurrence rates appeared to vary with various antibiotic treatments.

Conclusion: We conclude that recurrence is a major determinant of OM treatment costs. Drugs associated with lower rates of recurrence will usually be the most cost-effective treatment options.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Models, Economic
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy
  • Otitis Media / economics*
  • Recurrence
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents