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Ear drops containing steroids were better than acetic acid for otitis externa

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Q In patients with acute otitis externa, what is the relative effectiveness of ear drops containing acetic acid, steroids and acetic acid, and steroids and antibiotics?


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:

blinded (health care providers and patients).

Embedded ImageFollow up period:

42 days.

Embedded ImageSetting:

47 general practices in the central part of the Netherlands.

Embedded ImagePatients:

213 patients (mean age 43 y, 50% men) presenting with signs and symptoms of acute otitis externa. Exclusion criteria: age ⩽17 years, pregnancy, otitis externa lasting >3 weeks, furuncle in the external auditory canal, acute otitis media, perforated eardrum, perichondritis, fever, allergy to study drugs, or treatment for acute otitis externa in the past month.

Embedded ImageInterventions:

3 ear …

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  • For correspondence: Dr F A van Balen, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Utrecht, Netherlands.

  • Sources of funding: Dutch College of General Practitioners and Foundation for the Advancement of Appropriate Drug Usage.