Otitis Media: To Treat or Not to Treat; A Review of Scientific Evidence
Otitis media is the most commonly diagnosed infection in children. Over the years, several different treatment modalities have been instituted to treat this infection including the routine use of antibiotics. Although the use of antibiotics has been standard, positive outcomes have been achieved without their use. This article presents a review of the scientific evidence related to the treatment or non-treatment of otitis media in pediatrics and comparisons of outcomes. Key words for indexing: otitis media, antibiotics, ear infections, positive outcomes, non-treatment.
Patients depend upon providers to accurately assess, identify and treat otitis media. Previous thought processes included the standardized regime of antibiotics to treat otitis media with varying types of antibiotics. The clinician’s ability to identify otitis media, prescribe the appropriate treatment while concurrently reducing the relapse of infections, side effects and decreasing the cure time is essential for the patient’s well-being as well as a management perspective. This article discusses a review of the scientific evidence related to the treatment vs. non-treatment of otitis media and compares outcomes of both treatment modalities. Otitis media (OM) is one of the most common childhood infections, and the most frequent reason for children to take antibiotics. “OM refers to an inflammation of the middle ear and comprises two main entities: acute OM (AOM) and OM with effusion (OME). AOM is defined as the presence of middle ear effusion in conjunction with the rapid onset of one or more signs or symptoms of inflammation in the middle ear, such as otlgia, otorrhoea, fever, or irritability. OME is defined as fluid in the middle ear without signs or symptoms of an ear infection” (Rovers, 2008, p. 2). 20 million visits to medical professionals were provided to children between 6 months and 15...