Prompted by rising rates of antibiotic resistance, lack of standardized treatment regimens, and new treatment alternatives, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery convened an expert consensus panel to consider recommendations for the responsible use of antibiotics in chronic suppurative otitis media, tympanostomy tube otorrhea, and otitis externa. The panel-concluded that in the absence of systemic infection or serious underlying disease, topical antibiotics alone constitute first-line treatment for most patients with these conditions, finding no evidence that systemic antibiotics alone or in combination with topical preparations improve treatment outcomes compared with topical antibiotics alone. Topical preparations should be selected on the basis of expected bacteriology and informed knowledge of the risk-benefit of each available preparation. The use of nonototoxic preparations in treating acute otitis externa (when the tympanic membrane is perforated or its status is unknown), chronic suppurative otitis media, and tympanostomy tube otorrhea should be considered.
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