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Review: a short course of antibiotics is as effective as a long course for acute otitis media in children

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Question Is a short course of antibiotic treatment (<7 d) as effective as a long course of treatment (≥7 d) for acute otitis media (AOM) in children?

Data sources

Randomised controlled trials were identified by searching Medline (1966 to July 1997) using the terms otitis media (modified by the term acute), randomized controlled trials, random allocation, double-blind method, and single-blind method; Embase/Excerpta Medica (1974 to July 1997) using a similar search strategy; Current Contents (January to July 1997); and Science Citation Index. Bibliographies of relevant studies were also reviewed.

Study selection

Inclusion criteria were sample age 4 weeks to 18 years, clinical diagnosis of AOM and no antimicrobial treatment at the time of diagnosis, random allocation to antibiotic treatment for <7 days or ≥7 days, and assessment of clinical resolution of AOM. Trials were excluded if a surgical cointervention was planned (except for myringotomy after treatment failure …

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  • Source of funding: Canadian Cochrane Network.

  • For correspondence: Dr M E Moffatt, University of Manitoba, Department of Community Health Sciences, and Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, 750 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0W3, Canada. Fax +1 204 789 3905.