NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The broad-spectrum antibiotic levofloxacin is highly effective against the bacteria that typically cause ear infections in children, according to researchers.
In the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Dr. Adriano Arguedas of Instituto de Atencion Pediatrica, San Jose, Costa Rica and colleagues, note that levofloxacin, sold under the trade name Levaquin, has an excellent record for treating bacterial infections in the throat and lungs.
To determine its effectiveness and safety for ear infections, the researchers studied 205 children who had, or were at high risk for, persistent or repeat infections. They ranged in age from 6 months to 4 years.
Fluid samples from the middle ear were taken before and after treatment with levofloxacin, which was given for 10 days.
Bacteria identified in the fluid before treatment included Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. All of these organisms were susceptible to levofloxacin.
Bacteria were eradicated from the middle ear fluid of 88 percent of children during treatment, including 31 of 37 of those infected with S. pneumoniae and all 54 who had H. influenzae infection. The overall treatment success rate was 94 percent.
Only 6 percent of children experienced a side effect that caused a change in treatment. The most common was vomiting, which affected 4 percent of the participants.
The researchers call for larger comparative trials, but, in light of these findings conclude that levofloxacin is safe and effective in treatment of ear infections in children.
SOURCE: Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, December 2006.