Choosing Wisely®

Antibiotics for Otitis Media

Recommendation

Don't prescribe antibiotics for otitis media in children aged 2-12 years with non-severe symptoms where the observation option is reasonable.

  • The “observation option” refers to deferring antibacterial treatment of selected children for 48 to 72 hours and limiting management to symptomatic relief.
  • The decision to observe or treat is based on the child’s age, diagnostic certainty, and illness severity. To observe a child without initial antibacterial therapy, it is important that the parent or caregiver has a ready means of communicating with the clinician. There also must be a system in place that permits reevaluation of the child.

Sources
AAP/AAFP 2005 "Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media." Accessible at: http://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/clinical_recommendations/final_aom.pdf

Venekamp RP, Sanders S, Glasziou PP, Del Mar CB, Rovers MM. Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000219. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000219.pub3. Accessible at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000219.pub3/pdf(onlinelibrary.wiley.com).

This recommendation is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about this recommendation or their individual situation should consult their physician.

About Choosing Wisely®

The Choosing Wisely®(www.choosingwisely.org)  campaign was created as an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation(www.abimfoundation.org) to improve health care quality. More than 50 specialty societies have identified commonly used tests or procedures within their specialties that are possibly overused.

Learn more about the AAFP support of the Choosing Wisely® campaign.