Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Co-amoxiclav in recurrent acute otitis media: placebo controlled study.

British Medical Journal 1991; 303 doi: (Published 07 December 1991) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1991;303:1450
  1. C L Appelman,
  2. J Q Claessen,
  3. F W Touw-Otten,
  4. G J Hordijk,
  5. R A de Melker
  1. Department of General Practice, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy of coamoxiclav in children aged 6 months to 12 years with recurrent acute otitis media. DESIGN--A randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trial. SETTING--General practice in the Netherlands. PATIENTS--121 children with recurrent acute otitis media, defined by onset of otalgia and otoscopic signs of middle ear infection within four to 52 weeks after the previous attack. Confirmation of diagnosis and randomisation was done by otolaryngologists. INTERVENTION--Oral co-amoxiclav or placebo in weight related doses for seven days. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--An irregular clinical course defined as the presence of otalgia or a body temperature greater than or equal to 38 degrees C, or both, after three days. RESULTS--Eleven (16%; 95% confidence interval 9% to 28%) children had an irregular course in the co-amoxiclav group and 10 (19%; 9% to 31%) in the placebo group (difference not significant). Age, dichotomised at 2 years, was the only significant prognostic factor for irregular course of the disease (odds ratio 5.9; 1.8 to 19.1). Among children aged below 2 years, 28% (4/14) in the co-amoxiclav group and 58% (7/12) in the placebo group had irregular courses. For children 2 years and older these percentages were 13% (7/52) and 7% (3/41). CONCLUSION--Children with recurrent acute otitis media are at greater risk of an irregular clinical course of the disease than children with a first episode of acute otitis media. Co-amoxiclav has no significant benefit over placebo in treating children over 2 years with acute otitis media.