Decongestants and Antihistamines May Have Little Use in Treatment of Otitis Media in Children
The Cochrane Library performed an analysis on several studies that reviewed the benefits and risks of using medications like decongestants or antihistamines in children with otitis media. The review, published in the Cochrane Databases , found that using these medications may not have any benefits for clearing an ear infection.
About the Study
The review found the medication provided no benefit, including:
- No early cure rate
- No symptom resolution
- No prevention of surgery or other complications
On average the otitis media was relieved in two weeks, which is the same amount of time the condition clears on its own.
Both medications have known side effects that include drowsiness and hyperactivity.
How Does This Affect You?
Otitis media is common and very uncomfortable for children and infants. While it may be instinctive to give medicine to cure the problem, these studies have shown that medicine may be ineffective in relieving the problem sooner than it would have resolved on its own. The medicine also has undesirable side effects.
Talk to your child's pediatrician about ways to prevent ear infections such as
National Institute of Health
Coleman C, Moore M. Decongestants and antihistamines for acute otitis media in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2008;16;(3).
Last reviewed October 2008 by
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