Antibiotics Don’t Prevent Ear Infections or Pneumonia in Children Up to 5 Years Old

antibioticsIn a new review published online by the Cochrane Library, current evidence doesn’t provide strong support for antibiotic use as a means of reducing the risk of otitis (inflammation or infection of the ear) or pneumonia in children up to 5 years of age with undifferentiated acute respiratory infections (ARIs). Undifferentiated acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are large and varied groups of infections that are not clearly restricted to one specific part of the upper respiratory tract. They last for up to seven days. Common respiratory infections have a wide variety of causes, leading to potential complications such as ear, throat and sinus infections. These infections are more common in pre-school children and are the most frequent reasons for parents to seek medical assistance. ARI’s are responsible for 75% of the total prescribed antibiotics in high-income countries.

Details About the Review

Márcia G. Alves Galvão, Ph.D., from the Municipal Secretariat of Health in Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the effectiveness of antibiotics in preventing complications in children aged 2 to 59 months with undifferentiated ARIs. Data were reviewed from four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs, involving 1,314 children with an undifferentiated ARI to compare antibiotic prescriptions with placebo or non-treatment.

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