Otitis media with effusion: benefits and harms of strategies in use for treatment and prevention

Nicola Principi, Paola Marchisio, Susanna Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Otitis media with effusion (OME) is a common clinical condition that is associated with hearing loss. It can be diagnosed at least once in approximately 80% of preschool children: 30-40% of them have recurrent episodes, and 5-10% have chronic disease. OME, in recurrent and persistent cases, might significantly delay or impair communication skills, resulting in behavioral and educational difficulties. Several therapeutic approaches have been used to avoid these problems. Most, however, have not been adequately studied, and no definitive conclusions can be drawn. Official guidelines do not recommend the use of decongestants, antihistamines, steroids, or antibiotics. The data are too scanty to assess other interventions, although autoinflation, because it incurs neither cost nor adverse events, deserves attention. Surgical procedures (i.e., tympanostomy tube insertion and adenoidectomy as an adjuvant) can be useful in some cases. This review evaluates all the current OME treatments and preventive measures, including their possible adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Acute otitis media
  • adenoidectomy
  • antibiotics
  • autoinflation
  • otitis media with effusion
  • tympanostomy tube placement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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