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Paper of the Day - Lidocaine effective for painful otitis media

Topical lidocaine is a quick, effective and safe treatment for children with painful acute otitis media, say Australian researchers.

The topical anaesthetic is a useful alternative to questionably effective antibiotics for children in pain, they add.

The study involved randomising 63 children to receive either 2% lidocaine eardrops or saline as a placebo. All the children were aged between three and 12 years and presented with earache and AOM with no evidence of perforation.

Pain scores were measured before and after administration. Fifty-two percent of children reported a 50% or greater reduction in pain scores just 10 minutes after receiving the lidocaine drops compared with 25% of children receiving placebo.

After 30 minutes those percentages had climbed to 90% and 63% respectively. There were no serious adverse events during follow up.

The researchers conclude that further work could concentrate on using longer-acting and more lipid soluble topical anaesthetics.

Arch Dis Child 2008:83;40-44

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