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Observation Advised for Most Children with Acute Otitis Media

Observation Advised for Most Children with Acute Otitis Media

UTRECHT, The Netherlands, Oct. 20 -- Antibiotics for acute otitis media are most beneficial for children younger than age two with bilateral infections and for any child with otorrhea, according to researchers here.

For most other children a policy of watchful waiting seems justified, Maroeska Rovers, M.D., of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, and colleagues, reported in the Oct. 20 issue of The Lancet on the basis of a meta-analysis.

Reliable identification of subgroups of children who benefit from antibiotic treatment has not been straightforward because individual trials have been too small for valid analyses, Dr. Maroeska said.

To identify subgroups likely to benefit, the researchers did a meta-analysis of data from six randomized trials, with individual patient data from 1,643 children, ages six months to 12 years.

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