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How do medications treat acute otitis media?

Acute otitis media is most often treated with antibiotics, or drugs used to kill bacteria in the body. An antibiotic, like amoxicillin, is prescribed by a physician when the middle ear infection is bacterial. Antibiotics do not work on infections that are viral in nature.

In both children and adults, doctors generally recommend the use of pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Sometimes adults will be given a topical intranasal vasoconstrictor, like phenylephrine, to help make the Eustachian tube work better. This treatment does not benefit children, however.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.