A new study was released this month that shines light on the common ear infection and the role that antibiotics play in getting them to go away. The results don’t shine a very favorable light on antibiotics.
Research from a UCLA study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. When referring to antibiotic use on ear infections their study concluded that “Antibiotics are modestly more effective than no treatment but cause adverse effects in 4% to 10% of children. Most antibiotics have comparable clinical success.” The research showed that although there is a slightly better recovery rate for children who use antibiotics on their ear infections, the side effects of rashes and diarrhea offset the overall benefit. This leaves the decision to use antibiotics in a gray area for the average parent. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently started a campaign called “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work.” Their hope is to bring issues such as childhood ear infection and other complicated antibiotic use scenarios into the public eye and assist parents in making better antibiotic use decisions.