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OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to compare the antibiotic treatment failure and recurrence rates between antibiotic agents (amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefdinir, and azithromycin) for children with uncomplicated acute otitis media (AOM).
STUDY DESIGN: We completed a retrospective cohort study of children 6 months-12 years of age with uncomplicated AOM identified in a nationwide claims database. The primary exposure was the antibiotic agent, and the primary outcomes were treatment failure and recurrence. Logistic regression was used to estimate ORs, and analyses were stratified by primary exposure, patient age, and antibiotic duration.
RESULTS: Among the 1 051 007 children included in the analysis, 56.6% were prescribed amoxicillin, 13.5% were prescribed amoxicillin-clavulanate, 20.6% were prescribed cefdinir, and 9.3% were prescribed azithromycin. Most prescriptions (93%) were for 10 days, and 98% were filled within 1 day of the medical encounter. Treatment failure and recurrence occurred in 2.2% (95% CI: 2.1, 2.2) and 3.3% (3.2, 3.3) of children, respectively. Combined failure and recurrence rates were low for all agents including amoxicillin (1.7%; 1.7, 1.8), amoxicillin-clavulanate (11.3%; 11.1, 11.5), cefdinir (10.0%; 9.8, 10.1), and azithromycin (9.8%; 9.6, 10.0).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite microbiologic changes in AOM etiology, treatment failure and recurrence were uncommon for all antibiotic agents and were lower for amoxicillin than for other agents. These findings support the continued use of amoxicillin as a first-line agent for AOM when antibiotics are prescribed.