Twice-daily antibiotics in the treatment of acute otitis media: trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole versus amoxicillin-clavulanate.CMAJ 1990; 142(2):115-8CMAJ
Twice-daily trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole has been shown to be effective in the treatment of acute otitis media except that caused by group A beta-streptococci. Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium is effective in vitro against all bacterial pathogens causing acute otitis media and has been reported to be effective when given twice daily for urinary tract infections, acute otitis media and respiratory tract infections. To determine whether the in-vitro efficacy of amoxicillin-clavulanate carries over clinically, we conducted a prospective randomized double-blind trial in 219 children presenting at a pediatric walk-in clinic. Diagnosis and follow-up assessments were made by means of examination of the tympanic membrane and acoustic otoscopy. Of the 219 children 202 (101 in either group) were assessed by a specially trained nurse at a follow-up visit 12 to 16 (mean 14) days after treatment was begun. Cure was defined as absence of symptoms and normal results of both visual inspection of the tympanic membrane and acoustic reflectometry; improvement was defined as absence of symptoms and either normal appearance of the tympanic membrane or normal results of acoustic reflectometry; treatment failure was defined as abnormal appearance of the tympanic membrane along with an acoustic reflectometry reading of 5 units or more. There were no differences in age (mean 60 months), sex or proportion of subjects with unilateral versus bilateral disease between the two groups. The combined rate of cure an improvement was significantly higher with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (93%) than with amoxicillin-clavulanate (82%) (p = 0.03). The rate of compliance (more than 80% of the drug taken) did not differ significantly between the two groups. Gastrointestinal side effects were more common with amoxicillin-clavulanate (p less than 0.0001). Our results suggest that for acute otitis media twice-daily trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is more effective clinically and produces fewer side effects than twice-daily amoxicillin-clavulanate.