Antibiotics for ear infections you should consider
While there are a number of bacteria that could affect the ear, there are antibiotics for ear infections. Antibiotics are powerful drugs that can kill bacteria. Doctors often prescribe oral antibiotics that you swallow in pill or liquid form.
However, eardrops can sometimes be safer and more effective than oral medications. See the reasons why:
Oral antibiotics have risks.
- Oral antibiotics are more likely to lead to resistant bacteria outside the ear. If that happens, these drugs won’t work as well in the future. Diseases will be harder to cure and more expensive to treat.
- Antibiotic eardrops kill bacteria faster and more completely than oral antibiotics. The drops do not enter the bloodstream, so more medication reaches the infection.
Oral antibiotics have more side effects
Oral antibiotics can cause more side effects than antibiotic ear drops. Side effects include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, skin rash, headache, and dangerous allergic reactions.
Antibiotics for ear infections – Who should use antibiotic eardrops?
Antibiotic eardrops can be more effective and safer for:
- People with Swimmer’s Ear, an infection caused by water in the ear.
- Children who have tubes in their ears. The tubes prevent most infections behind the eardrum—an area known as the middle ear. If there is an infection, antibiotic eardrops can be given right through the tube.
What about over-the-counter eardrops?
Over-the-counter ear drops can often be effective for swimmer’s ear.
People who have a hole or tube in their eardrum should talk to their doctor before using ear drops. The drops can cause pain, infection, or even hearing damage. For bacterial infections, the only ear drops they should use are the antibiotics ofloxacin (Floxin Otic and generics) or the more expensive combination drug ciprofloxacin-dexamethasone (Ciprodex).
Antibiotics can lead to more costs.
Most oral antibiotics don’t cost much. But if they don’t work well, you may need additional doctor visits, hospitalization, and expensive medications. You may also have to miss work. Treating a severe infection that is antibiotic-resistant can cost more than $25,000.
Who should take oral antibiotics for ear infections?
- Children without ear tubes should take oral antibiotics for middle-ear infections, especially when they have severe ear pain or high fever.
- Children with ear tubes should take oral antibiotics if:
- They are very ill.
- They have another reason to be on an antibiotic.
- The infection doesn’t go away with eardrops.
Oral antibiotics help treat Swimmer’s Ear when:
- The infection spreads beyond the ear.
- The person has other conditions, such as diabetes, that increase the risk of complications.