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Antibiotics for Children With Ear Infections In Question

The Southern California/RAND Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) performed an analysis of clinical tests conducted on children 4 weeks to 18 years of age from 1964 through 1998, sponsored by way of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In this particular analysis the investigators found, a large proportion of children, nearly two-thirds of these studied, "with uncomplicated acute otitis media...recover from pain and fever within twenty four hours of diagnosis without (antibiotic) treatment...and over 80% improve within 1 to 7 days."

The Evidence-based Practice Center estimates that more than 5 million instances of acute otitis media occur every year in the US at a price of approximately $3 billion. In the United States it's routine to utilize antibiotics being a first treatment approach. This can be contrary to other countries, like the Netherlands, in which the standard practice is to apply "watchful waiting" for 1-2 days following the oncoming of an ear infection in kids over 2 years of age. In these countries antibiotic use is only required when the infection ceases to improve in that time. Due to the difference in antibiotic usage between the US and the Netherlands, the speed of bacterial resistance within the Netherlands is approximately 1 %, in contrast to the US average close to 25 %. This suggests that the US uses antibiotics more than other countries. Additionally, not only is antibiotic use possibly unwarranted, but questionable in their effectiveness.

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