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August 1984

Topical Phenylephrine for the Treatment of Middle Ear Effusion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville (Drs Hayden and Hendley), and the Canandaigua (NY) Medical Group, PC (Dr Randall and Ms Randall).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(8):512-514. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800340024005

• One hundred fifty-two children were enrolled in a randomized, controlled clinical trial of the efficacy of phenylephrine hydrochloride nose drops or nasal spray in hastening the resolution of middle ear effusion. Children with persistent effusion were recruited for the study during a return visit two weeks after an episode of acute otitis media. Forty-six patients (30%) dropped out of the study, many because they failed to tolerate the medication, especially the nose drops. Another 27 (18%) had to be excluded because of intercurrent illness or systemic drug therapy. Among those children completing the study, rates of clinical and tympanometric cure during the following four weeks were similar in the drug and placebo groups. In view of the absence of documented clinical efficacy and the practical difficulties inherent in their administration, topical decongestants appear to have a limited role, if any, in treating children with persistent effusion.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1984;110:512-514)

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