GPs should avoid antibiotics for ear infections

New NICE guidance is urging GPs to manage most common ear infections with pain relief rather than antibiotics.

It is estimated that one in four children experience a middle ear infection before they are 10 years old, with 60 per cent of cases showing improvements within 24 hours, even without the use of antibiotics.

Therefore, NICE believes that children and young people should be cared for with pain relief rather than antibiotics.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, said: “We are all too well aware of the dangers we are facing with antibiotic resistance, so it is vital these medicines are only used when they are effective. The evidence shows antibiotics are not needed by most children and young people with middle ear infections. We must make sure the people who need them are given them, but routine prescribing in all cases isn’t appropriate.”

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