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Many publications in recent years have argued in favor of shortened therapy for acute otitis media. However, doubt persists regarding children younger than 2 years, and some authors therefore restrict short course therapy to children older than 2 years.In a prospective, comparative, double blind, randomized, multicenter trial we compared cefpodoxime-proxetil, 8 mg/kg/day in two divided doses for 10 days, with an identical 5-day regimen followed by a 5-day placebo period.Between October, 1996, and April, 1997, 450 children (mean age, 14.3 months) were enrolled, 227 in the 5-day group and 223 in the 10-day group. In the per protocol analysis clinical success was obtained on Days 12 to 14 after the beginning of treatment (main analysis) in 175 (84.1%) of the 208 children receiving the 5-day regimen and 194 (92.4%) of the 210 children receiving the 10-day regimen (P = 0.009). The superiority of the standard regimen was more marked among children cared for outside their homes (92.5% vs. 81.5%). Clinical success persisted on Days 28 to 42 among 134 (85.4%) of the 157 assessable patients in the 5-day group and 144 (83.7%) of the 172 assessable patients in the 10-day group (P = 0.68).The 10-day regimen resulted in a higher success rate at the conclusion of therapy, but there were no differences between the two study groups 4 to 6 weeks after enrollment in the study protocol.