Health

Oral antibiotics for swimmer's ear get thumbs down

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 17, 2006

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Topical antibiotics should be used for diffuse acute otitis externa, also known as swimmer's ear, but physicians should avoid using systemic antimicrobials unless the infection goes beyond the ear canal or there are other specific factors that indicate the need for these drugs. These recommendations are in guidelines issued by a panel of specialists and primary care doctors convened by the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

In addition, pain associated with the infection should be assessed and treated with appropriate analgesics. These are the first guidelines for the care of this type of ear infection.

"Orally administered antibiotics have significant adverse effects. ... Societal consequences include direct transmission of resistant bacterial pathogens in homes and child care centers," the authors wrote.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/04/17/hlbf0417.htm.

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