Antibiotic ear drops favored over popular oral antibiotics for ear infections

December 13, 2006

DALLAS - Dec. 13, 2006 -- A multicenter study on treating common ear infections in children with ear tubes adds to a growing body of evidence that favors antibiotic ear drops over antibiotics swallowed in pill or liquid form in such cases, a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher reports.

The latest study, involving 80 children, showed that antibiotic ear drops performed better and faster in treating middle ear infections in children with ear tubes than merely taking oral antibiotics such as swallowing a pill or liquid. The findings are available online in the journal Pediatrics.

"With the use of ear drops, you can put more potent medicine just where you need it," said Dr. Peter Roland, chairman of otolaryngology at UT Southwestern and one of the study's authors.

The latest study looked at children ages 6 months to 12 years who had ear tubes, middle ear infections, and visible drainage in the ear. Both the oral and topical antibiotics cure the infections in more than 70 percent of cases. But the topical drops resolved the ear drainage three to five days faster and resulted in more clinical cures overall - 85 percent for those taking drops, compared to 59 percent for oral administration of medication - according to the study.

That's in line with previous research and other findings that support increased use of topical antibiotics over oral antibiotics in other cases involving middle ear infections, one of the most common childhood afflictions, said Dr. Roland, who heads the Clinical Center for Auditory, Vestibular and Facial Nerve Disorders at UT Southwestern and who is also chief of pediatric otology at Children's Medical Center Dallas.

Middle ear infections are the most common diagnosis for which children receive antibiotics, and insertion of ear tubes is the most common surgery performed on children.

Many doctors treat these infections with oral antibiotics like amoxicillin, which is absorbed through the blood stream, said Dr. Roland.

The tubes, researchers reported, provide better access to the middle ear, behind the ear drum, so more of the ear drops medicine reach the infection, avoiding potential intestinal and blood absorption that occurs with oral antibiotics. Researchers discovered that the concentration at the infection can be a thousandfold greater than when oral or IV medication is used.

In addition, because the antibiotic is not distributed throughout the body, there is less chance of developing antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Roland has previously demonstrated that middle ear infections are often caused by micro-organisms that are not susceptible to antibiotics approved for pediatric patients. But the ear infections are sensitive to topical ear drops. That research showed that children with ear tubes have different micro-organisms than those without the tubes, thereby requiring different treatment.

Previous research has shown other advantages to topical antibiotics for middle-ear infections as well:
-end-
Researchers involved in the Pediatrics study included groups from Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Florida.

The research was supported by a grant from Fort Worth-based Alcon Research Ltd. Dr. Roland is a paid medical monitor and consultant on the study.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern Medical Center, one of the premier medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. Its more than 1,400 full-time faculty members - including four active Nobel Prize winners, more than any other medical school in the world - are responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and are committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 89,000 hospitalized patients and oversee 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.

This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at

http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home/news/index.html

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail,

subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews

Dr. Peter Roland - http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/findfac/professional/0,2356,16205,00.html

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related Antibiotic Articles from Brightsurf:

Pollution linked to antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is an increasing health problem, but new research suggests it is not only caused by the overuse of antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance and the need for personalized treatments
Scientists have discovered that the microbiota of each individual determines the maintenance of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the gut: whereas in some individuals resistant bacteria are quickly eliminated, in others they are not.

Artificial intelligence yields new antibiotic
Using a machine-learning algorithm, MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound.

From cancer medication to antibiotic
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are increasingly the source of deadly infections. A team of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig have now modified an approved cancer drug to develop an active agent against multidrug-resistant pathogens.

Up to two-fifths of antibiotic prescriptions in the US could be inappropriate
As much as two fifths (43%) of antibiotic prescriptions in the United States could be inappropriate, warn researchers in a study published by The BMJ today.

New understanding of antibiotic synthesis
Researchers at McGill University's Faculty of Medicine have made important strides in understanding the functioning of enzymes that play an integral role in the production of antibiotics and other therapeutics.

Cause of antibiotic resistance identified
Bacteria can change form in human body, hiding the cell wall inside themselves to avoid detection.

Cannabidiol is a powerful new antibiotic
New research has found that Cannnabidiol is active against Gram-positive bacteria, including those responsible for many serious infections (such as Staphyloccocus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae), with potency similar to that of established antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin.

New approaches cut inappropriate antibiotic use by over 30%
A UC Davis study of nine emergency departments and urgent care centers in California and Colorado found educating physicians and patients about safe antibiotic use can cut overuse by one-third.

How certain antibiotic combinations could defeat 'superbugs'
In hospitalized patients with bacterial infections, heteroresistance is more widespread than previously appreciated.

Read More: Antibiotic News and Antibiotic Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.