New antibiotic gel enables better treatment for otitis media

New antibiotic gel enables better treatment for otitis media

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Gel could significantly ease the treatment of middle ear inflammation
A bacterial infection in the ear is extremely uncomfortable and painful. Children in particular are often affected by this problem. Researchers have now found that a single application of an antibiotic gel is sufficient to treat the disease. This could revolutionize the treatment of middle ear infections and similar diseases.

Scientists at Boston Children's Hospital have now found that an antibiotic gel is an easy way to treat bacterial ear infections. So far, the new experimental therapy has only been tested on chinchillas, but showed a 100% chance of curing the infection in the animals. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".

Middle ear inflammation common in children
The new therapy works absolutely reliably with chinchillas. How effective the treatment works in children is not yet known, the authors explain. Inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media) is an extremely widespread problem in children. Parents also often have difficulty motivating their children to take medicine for the infection.

Antibiotic treatment in children with otitis media is problematic
In addition to drug treatment, there are of course some home remedies for otitis media. However, the normal treatment of otitis media is still a ten-day course of antibiotics, the experts explain. During this time, sick children must take antibiotics three times a day. Parents often have problems getting their children to take the medicine regularly, explains lead researcher Dr. Daniel Kohane from Boston Children's Hospital.

Antibiotic treatment must be continued until the end
Failure to fully oral antibiotic therapy in children increases the risk of bacterial resistance. For this reason, it is important to kill all bacteria during therapy, says Dr. Kohane.

Drops in the ears are mostly blocked by the eardrum
To enable treatment of otitis media by ear drops is a long-awaited goal of research, explain the doctors. But usually, drugs inserted into the ears are blocked by the eardrum. For this reason, medicine never reaches the bacteria in the middle ear.

Fats help the antibiotic to penetrate the eardrum
The new gel contains special fats that help the antibiotic to pass through the eardrum. The antibiotic is released slowly over a period of one week, the scientists explain. The new gel contains the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

Antibiotic gel heals all test animals quickly and reliably
The chinchillas tested were often infected by so-called Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. This infection is a common cause of otitis media, explains Dr. Kohane. The new gel cured the infection in all ten chinchillas. Standard antibiotic ear drops treatment cured only five out of eight chinchillas within seven days.

The drug is not found in the bloodstream
The new gel delivers the drug directly into the middle ear. The drug was not found in the animals' bloodstream, the researchers say. This indicates that the treatment does not affect the entire body. This could save the children from the negative side effects of antibiotics. These include, for example, diarrhea and rashes, explains Dr. Systemic whole body exposure to ciprofloxacin should be avoided in children. The use in children can otherwise lead to possible damage to bones and muscles, the experts explain.

After three weeks, the gel is no longer detectable in the body
The gel disappeared from the animal's body within three weeks. The chinchillas' eardrums appeared normal again. Because the ear of chinchillas is built like a human ear, it can be expected that the drug will also work in humans, explains Dr. Kohane.

More research is needed
However, there is still a long way to go before treatment can be used on infants and children. A series of tests must now first check whether the drug is safe and effective. It is important to rule out serious side effects. Hopefully the gel will change the way otitis media is treated, Dr. Inflammation of the middle ear in children is a very common cause of visits to the doctor and treatment in the emergency room. (as)

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