Naturopathy and Otitis

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:

  1. Treatment with naturopathic ear drops and Amoxicillin
  2. Treatment with naturopathic ear drops
  3. Treatment with anaestetic ear drops and Amoxicillin
  4. 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.

2 thoughts on “Naturopathy and Otitis”

  1. Most people I know who try naturopathic use Mullein oil or a garlic/mullein mix (usually manufactured for ear remedies). I haven’t had much success with this though for immediate pain relief and prefer the anesthetic drops. I think most parents want something to take away with them to alleviate their child’s pain (and give the whole family some sleep at night!). I’ve known many parents who will lie to their doctor just to get antibiotics…and then (of course) just give them to the child until they feel better (1-2 days, big surprise?).

    A reliable and non-flaky resource for complementary options is the Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. The NDs there are fabulous and make excellent nutritional suggestions that seemed to help…

    I don’t think that many physicians do the same as you – you were the first physician who suggested the non-antibiotic route (she’s been through 5 different docs at various stages). I think there’s more education to be done, for both physicians and parents.

  2. um, the original had white space in it. really, i don’t just normally ramble on in run-on paragraphs…

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