Intramuscular ceftriaxone compared with oral amoxicillin-clavulanate for treatment of acute otitis media in children

Eur J Pediatr. 1997 Nov;156(11):858-63. doi: 10.1007/s004310050731.


Two hundred and fifteen children aged 4 months 6 years with acute otitis media (AOM) were randomized to be treated either by a single i.m. injection of ceftriaxone, 50 mg/kg, with a second dose in the event of unsatisfactory response after 48 h or a history of recurrent AOM (109 patients) or amoxicillin clavulanate 12.5 mg tid (106 patients). The failure rate was similar in children treated by ceftriaxone and amoxicillin clavulanate, 4.6% and 4.7%, respectively (standard error for intergroup difference -2.87%, 95% confidence interval -5.62% to 5.87%). No significant differences between the groups were found in the dynamics of the resolution of the acute symptomatology, otoscopy findings, relapse rate at 30 days or tympanographic evidence of middle ear effusion at the scheduled visits on days 30, 60 and 90. Recurrence of AOM between days 31 and 90 was observed significantly in more children treated with amoxicillin clavulanate than with ceftriaxone--25 out of 84 (29.4%) versus 11 out of 81 (13.6%) (P = 0.012).

Conclusion: Ceftriaxone injection(s) is as efficient at least as 10-day oral amoxicillin clavulanate for treatment of acute otitis media in children. Although not recommended as routine, ceftriaxone can be considered in the management of acute otitis media under special circumstances, particularly in cases when the ability to tolerate or absorb oral drugs is compromised, in children refusing or unable to take oral therapy or when the compliance is questionable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Oral
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination / administration & dosage
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Ceftriaxone / administration & dosage
  • Ceftriaxone / therapeutic use*
  • Cephalosporins / administration & dosage
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Cephalosporins
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination
  • Ceftriaxone