A bedtime dose of sulphamethoxazole was effective in preventing ear infections in otitis-prone young children. Thirty-three such children were studied by means of a random, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over protocol. Nine (27%) of 33 children treated with sulphamethoxazole experienced 10 episodes of acute suppurative otitis media or otitis media with effusion while 19 (58%) of 33 children given a placebo experienced 27 episodes of acute otitis media or otitis media with effusion. No new episode of otitis media was observed in 11 children in whom serial urine samples uniformly had a positive response to Micrococcus lutea bioinhibition test, the method we chose to monitor compliance. Otitis media with effusion (secretory otitis media) was detected less often in the children who were given sulphamethoxazole; this fact suggests that prophylaxis with sulphamethoxazole may prevent persistent middle ear effusion in otitis-prone young children.
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