Skip to main content Accessibility help

Otitis media with effusion: can erythromycin reduce the need for ventilating tubes?

  • Per Møller (a1) and Gjert Dingsør (a1)


Otitis media with effusion (OME) is a common condition among children and is characterized by nonpurulent fluid in the middle ear and fluctuating conductive hearing loss. Most children will spontaneously regain normal air-filled middle ears, but a certain number will have persistent problems. In our department we will treat annually about 500 children on an outpatient basis, with the insertion of ventilating tubes in the eardrum. The reason for this study was to evaluate the effect of erythromycin, instead of inserting a ventilation tube, in children with bilateral OME of longer duration than three months (double blind/placebo). The study comprises 147 children, 1–15 years of age, 83 boys and 64 girls, all with OME for more than three months. All the patients were candidates for tube insertion. In the group treated with erythromycin, 12 patients out of 69 had bilaterally air-filled middle ears after one month, as compared to 19 out of 72 in the group treated with the placebo. No difference was noted due to sex or age. The results support our indication and timing for ventilation tube insertion.


Corresponding author

per Møller, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, N-5021 Bergen, Norway.


Hide All
Cantekin, E. I., Mandel, E. M., Bluestone, C. D., Rockette, H. E., Paradise, J. L., Stool, S. E., Fria, T. J., Rogers, K. D. (1983) Lack of efficacy of a decongestant-antihistamine combination for otitis media with effusion (‘secretory’ otitis media) in children. New England Journal of Medicine, 308: 297301.
Ernstson, S., Sundberg, L. (1984) Erythromycin in the treatment of otitis media with effusions. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 8: 767769.
Healy, G. B. (1983) Antimicrobial therapy of chronic otitis media with effusion. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 8: 1317.
Laurell, A. B., Nilsson, N. I., Prellner, K. (1980) Immune complexes and complement in serous and mucoid otitis media. Acta Otolaryngologica, 90: 290296.
Liu, Y. S., Lim, D. J., Lang, R. W., Birck, H. G. (1975) Chronic middle ear effusions. Immunochemical and bacteriological investigations. Archives of Otolaryngology, 101: 278286.
Lorentzen, P., Haugsten, P. (1978) Treatment of acute otitis media. Tidskrift for den norske laegeforening, 98: 12731275.
Marks, N. J., Mills, R. P., Shaheen, O. H. (1981) A controlled trial of contrimoxazole therapy in serous otitis media. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 95: 10031009.
Marks, N. J., Mills, R. P., Shaheen, O. H. (1983) Cotrimoxazole in the treatment of serous otitis. A follow-up report. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 97: 213215.
Sade, J. (1979) Secretory otitis media and its sequelae. Churchill Livingstone, Ed 1 New York, Edinburgh and London.
Stenfors, L. E., Raisanen, S. (1989) Colonization of middle ear pathogens in the nasopharyngeal opening of the Eustachian tube during secretory otitis media. Acta Otolaryngologica, 107: 104110.
Sundberg, I., Cederberg, Å., Eden, T., Ernstson, S. (1981) Bacteriology in secretory otitis media. Acta Otolaryngologica. Supplement, 384: 1825.
Sundberg, L. (1984) Antibiotic treatment of secretory otitis media. Acta Otolaryngologica. Supplement, 407: 2629.
Thomsen, J. (1985) Long-term antibiotic treatment of children with secretory otitis media in: Acute and secretory otitis media, (Sade, J. ed.) Kugler Publication, Amsterdam.
Tos, M., Poulsen, G., Borch, J. (1979) Etiologic factors in secretory otitis. Archives of Otolaryngology, 105: 582588.

Otitis media with effusion: can erythromycin reduce the need for ventilating tubes?

  • Per Møller (a1) and Gjert Dingsør (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed