A Cost-Utility Analysis of 5 Strategies for the Management of Acute Otitis Media in Children

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Abstract

Objective

To assess whether antimicrobial therapy in young children with acute otitis media reduces time to resolution of symptoms, overall symptom burden, and persistence of otoscopic evidence of infection. We used a cost-utility model to evaluate whether immediate antimicrobial treatment seems to be worthwhile, and if so, which antimicrobial agent is most cost effective.

Study design

We compared the cost per quality-adjusted life-day of 5 treatment regimens in children younger than 2 years of age with acute otitis media: immediate amoxicillin/clavulanate, immediate amoxicillin, immediate cefdinir, watchful waiting, and delayed prescription (DP) for antibiotic.

Results

The 5 treatment regimens, listed in order from least effective to most effective were DP, watchful waiting, immediate cefdinir, immediate amoxicillin, and immediate amoxicillin/clavulanate. Listed in order from least costly to most costly, the regimens were DP, immediate amoxicillin, watchful waiting, immediate amoxicillin/clavulanate, and immediate cefdinir. The incremental cost-utility ratio of immediate amoxicillin compared with DP was $101.07 per quality-adjusted life-day gained. The incremental cost-utility ratio of immediate amoxicillin/clavulanate compared with amoxicillin was $2331.28 per quality-adjusted life-day gained.

Conclusions

In children younger than 2 years of age with acute otitis media and no recent antibiotic exposure, immediate amoxicillin seems to be the most cost-effective initial treatment.

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