In this month's Pediatrics is an interesting article (pdf) on the treatment of ear pain in kids with otitis media. The authors conclude that naturopathy may very well belong as one of the treatment options for AOM.
The study compares four groups of kids with otitis:
- Treatment with naturopathic ear drops and Amoxicillin
- Treatment with naturopathic ear drops
- Treatment with anaestetic ear drops and Amoxicillin
- Treatment with anaestetic ear drops
The result of the study were that there were no significant differences in pain scores among all four groups.
Though I would agree that antibiotics are most likely NOT first-line treatment options for AOM … this sort of study is tough to interpret. As the article mentions, many physicians are now treating AOM without antibiotics .. and many are using anaestetic drops for pain relief during the 1st two days or so.
I've been treating AOM this way for about 7 years .. and I've had no problems with mastoiditis or more complicated disease. Some kids do fail initial treatment and require an antibiotic, but this is fairly rare, and I am confident that our minimal use of antibiotics has limited the spread of resistance in our patient population.
Now .. do we add naturopathic ear drops to our list of treatment options? Not yet. I wouldn't have any idea where to find them. Suggestions anyone? Please leave a comment.