Denver Health to Reduce Unnecessary Antibiotic Use in Young Children with Ear Infections

August 22, 2019

DENVER Denver Health Foundation has been awarded a grant from The Gerber Foundation to fund a research project, the NO TEARS study, looking at ear infections, the most common childhood infection.

The grant will go to Denver Health’s Department of Pediatrics within the network of community health centers. Acute otitis media (AOM), an ear infection, is the most common childhood infection requiring antibiotics. It affects 8.7 million children in the United States annually with more than 80 percent of children impacted by the time they’re 3-years-old.

This three-year study will examine the use of amoxicillin for the treatment of ear infections in children 6 months to 3 years of age, with the aim to improve the clinical care and to reduce unnecessary or broad-spectrum antibiotic use for children.

“Despite the significance of this infection, little is known regarding optimum antibiotic treatment for this condition or how diagnostic tests may be utilized to individualize and improve clinical care,” said Holly Frost, MD Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and primary investigator for this project.

The results of this study are expected to help direct clinical care for children with ear infections. The study will do this in several ways:

  1. The results from the study are expected to inform antibiotic choice for ear infections. A practicing clinician can use this information to determine which antibiotic he/she should consider prescribing for AOM, even before guidelines are updated.
  1. The study will also show if the bacteria in a child’s nose at the time of an ear infection can determine if the ear infection is likely to go away on its own and/or which antibiotic may be needed to best treat the infection. These results will help determine if a rapid diagnostic test that could be done in a physician’s office using a swab from a child’s nose could be used to guide treatment for ear infections in the future.

The estimated direct and indirect cost for treatment of AOM in the United States is more than $4.3 billion per year.

About Denver Health

Denver Health is a comprehensive, integrated organization providing level one care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

Denver Health provides medical care to nearly one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services.

About Denver Health Foundation

The Denver Health Foundation has been the fundraising arm for Denver Health and Hospital Authority since 1998. We secure private funds to support the hospital, Denver’s only integrated health care system, in its mission to sustain and advance the health and well-being of Denver and the Rocky Mountain region.

About The Gerber Foundation

The mission of The Gerber Foundation is to enhance the quality of life of infants and young children in nutrition, care, and development, With the primary focus, supported by over 70% of grant-making, is applied research focused on health and nutritional issues affecting infants and young children. Research projects aimed at finding solutions to common every-day issues and problems regarding children’s health and nutrition are sought. Of particular interest are those offering a substantial promise of meaningful advances in prevention and treatment of diseases and those with broad applicability to the general population.

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