Latest study indicates that in toddlers suffering from ear infections, longer antibiotic treatments prove to be more effective and beneficial than the ones with short term drug administration.

Study On Long And Short Antibiotic Courses

The study published in New England Journal of Medicine, involved observation of 520 children ranging from 6 months to 23 months, who were suffering from the common childhood illness of acute middle ear infection. About 260 randomly selected children were given a 10 days treatment of the antibiotic amoxicillin-clavulanate. Whereas, the other 260 children were made to receive five days medicine followed by five days of a placebo.

During the course of the treatment, if the children under study suffered any other ear infection they were given the same treatment again. As a part of the study, the parents, clinicians and researchers were kept from knowing which treatment a child was getting.

A track record was maintained for each child stating the severity of the symptoms. All the children had to go for regular office visits for health check-ups and additionally if they get ill. The throats of the children were also examined to observe if they were colonized by the bacteria that were resistant to the antibiotic.

Shortening Optimal Antibiotic Dosage

The study conducted was a part of the research for finding ways to reduce the unnecessary usage of antibiotics, such as administrating the drug for shorter duration against common infections. However, the goal was not reached by this particular study.

"This study really shows the importance of doing clinical trials," said Dr. Helen Boucher, specialist at Tufts Medical Centre, in a press release, "The whole notion of really figuring out the optimal duration of therapy is one we've been advocating heavily for."

Longer Duration Antibiotic Treatment Proven More Effective

The study revealed that the initial treatment with five days of antibiotic medicine failed in 34 percent, whereas, it failed for only 16 percent of the children who were treated for longer duration. Also, the symptoms were bad in the children who received shorter treatment.

According to a co-author of the study, Dr. Alejandro Hoberman, Head of the general academic pediatrics division at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the results of the study were quite surprising. He had expected that if an antibiotic is administered for a shorter duration, there would be fewer adverse issues. Instead, both known side effects of antibiotics- diaper rash and rates of diarrhea were found to be same for all the children, irrespective of the duration of the treatment.

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