A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial of 5 versus 10 days of antibiotic therapy for acute otitis media in young children

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Abstract

Background

All but 2 of the 15 published trials have failed to show a difference in efficacy between short (3 to 5 days) and standard (7 to 10 days) antibiotic regimens for acute otitis media (AOM). These studies involved relatively few patients under 2 years of age, who are at a higher risk for treatment failure.

Methods

In a prospective, comparative, double-blind, randomized, multicenter trial, we compared amoxicillin/clavulanate in 3 divided doses for 10 days with an identical 5-day regimen, followed by a 5-day placebo period.

Results

Between February 1995 and May 1996, 385 children (mean age, 13.3 months) were enrolled, 194 in the 5-day treatment group and 191 in the 10-day treatment group. In the per protocol analysis, clinical success was obtained on days 12 to 14 after the beginning of treatment (main analysis) in 125 (76.7%) of the 163 children receiving the 5-day regimen and 148 (88.1%) of the 168 receiving the 10-day regimen (P = .006). Clinical success persisted on days 28 to 42 among 57 (40.4%) of the 141 assessable patients in the 5-day group and 64 (46%) of the 139 assessable patients in the 10-day group. (P = .34). Multivariate analysis showed that the 10-day course was statistically superior only among children cared for outside their homes (86.8% vs 70.8%; P = .008).

Conclusions

When assessed on days 12 to 14 after the outset of treatment, a 5-day regimen is not equivalent to a 10-day regimen among young children with AOM. (J Pediatr 1998;133:634-9)

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