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Why are ototopical aminoglycosides still first-line therapy for chronic suppurative otitis media? A systematic review and discussion of aminoglycosides versus quinolones

  • A S Harris (a1), H A Elhassan (a2) and E P Flook (a1)



This systematic review aimed to establish that quinolones are as effective as aminoglycosides when used to treat chronic suppurative otitis media.


The review included good quality, randomised, controlled trials on human subjects, published in English, that compared topical aminoglycosides with topical quinolones for the treatment of chronic suppurative otitis media.


Nine trials met the criteria. Two studies showed a higher clinical cure rate in the quinolone group (93 per cent vs 71 per cent, p = 0.04, and 76 per cent vs 52 per cent, p = 0.009). Four studies showed no statistically significant difference in clinical outcome. A significant difference in microbiological clearance in favour of quinolones was shown in two studies (88 per cent vs 30 per cent, p < 0.001, and 88 per cent vs 30 per cent, p < 0.001).


Topical quinolones do not carry the same risk of ototoxicity as aminoglycosides. Furthermore, they are equal or more effective in treating chronic suppurative otitis media and when used as prophylaxis post-myringotomy. Topical quinolones should be considered a first-line treatment for these patients.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Andrew S Harris, 20 Longhouse Barn, Goytre NP4 0AX, Wales, UK E-mail:


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Presented as a poster at the 15th British Academic Conference in Otolaryngology, 8–10 July 2015, Liverpool, UK.



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Why are ototopical aminoglycosides still first-line therapy for chronic suppurative otitis media? A systematic review and discussion of aminoglycosides versus quinolones

  • A S Harris (a1), H A Elhassan (a2) and E P Flook (a1)


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