Science

Short Treatment For Babies' Ear Infection Could Lead To Worse Results

By Christie Abagon , Dec 25, 2016 09:02 PM EST

Ear infections are common in babies, and it is the main reason why doctors prescribe antibiotics to children under the age of 1.  A recent study shows that cutting back on antibiotics for ear infection treatment would result in clinical failure.

Shortened Treatment Did Not Cause Antibiotic Resistance, Contrary To What Many People Think

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a study involving 520 children aged 9 to 23 months, to determine whether a shorter period of antibiotic treatment - meaning five days, instead of the usually prescribed 10-day antibiotic treatment - decreases the risk of developing antibiotic resistance, while also leading to comparable cure rates.

Parents sometimes resort to shorter treatment for fear of antibiotic resistance that a longer treatment would cause.  The study which was published in New England Journal of Medicine shows that a shorter antibiotic treatment for ear infections leads to more treatment failures.  This study did not reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistance or allergic reactions.

The results, New York Times reported, were unexpected.   About one-third of babies in the five-day group failed treatment, compared with 16 percent of those in the 10-day group.  Researchers agree that the five-day treatment did not par the 10-day treatment, and as a matter of fact, it led to worse results. 

Doctors Need To Be Accurate Before Prescribing Antibiotics

Dr. Alejandro Hoberman, chief of the Children's Hospital division of general academic pediatrics, said that the study proves that no one should mess around with the 10-day antibiotic treatment, especially when it comes to children below 2 years old.  He also noted that doctors should only prescribe antibiotics after the ear infections are properly diagnosed, and not to be given to patients for treatment of common viral infections like cold and flu. 

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