AOM Study Toolkit for Physicians

Efficacy of Short-Course Antimicrobial Treatment for Young Children With Acute Otitis Media and Impact on Antimicrobial Resistance

Thank you for your interest in this study. AOM is the most frequently diagnosed illness in children and most common reason for being prescribed an antibiotic. However, because of concerns about antibiotic overuse, practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics include an option for watchful waiting for children 6 to 24 months with mild symptoms in whom the diagnosis is uncertain.

Through a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC determined that children who received antibiotics responded significantly faster and were less likely to have persistent otoscopic signs of an ear infection at the end of treatment. This benefit, however, must be weighed against concern not only about side effects (diarrhea, diaper rash), but also about the contribution of antibiotic treatment to the emergence of bacterial resistance.

These considerations underscore the need to restrict treatment to children whose illness is diagnosed using stringent criteria. As part of a broader initiative of clinical trials to fight antimicrobial resistance, NIH has again funded our center to determine whether children 6 to 24 months with AOM can be effectively treated with 5 days instead of 10 days of antibiotics. A shorter treatment course may be beneficial in reducing antibiotic resistance and reducing the likelihood of side effects.

For more information, please read this Letter to Physicians (PDF).

Patient Outreach

Below are links to information to enable full understanding of this research and to help with patient education and participation in this clinical study.

If you are not one of the participating PittNet sites and wish to refer a patient to the study, please:

Additional Resources

Rapid Learning Options

Note: CME credits are available for Modules 2 and 3 above, but require a login at PedsEd – Pediatrics Education. (Registration is free.)