Are antibiotics effective for otitis media with effusion?
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Antibiotics provide little or no long-term benefit for children with otitis media with effusion (OME), defined as fluid in the middle ear without signs or symptoms of infection. Most meta-analyses show a modest, short-term reduction in effusion rates. However, the most rigorous meta-analysis shows no benefit (strength of recommendation [SOR]: D, based on conflicting meta- analyses). No significant effect was noted on longer-term (>1 month) outcomes after treatment (SOR: A, based on a meta-analysis of 8 trials). In addition, there is no reliable evidence regarding patient-oriented outcomes (hearing loss, speech delay).
Journal of Family Practice, 52(4) 2003: 321-323.