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Ear Infection that won't go away
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pigpen143 posted:
Hi, I've had an ear infection for 3 weeks now. Initially they prescribed Amoxicillin (sp?) and on day 1 of the antibiotic my ear drum ruptured. They then prescribed Ofloxacin ear drops to take with the Amox. After that round, my ear was still infected, so they prescribed Ciprofloxacin. I am on my last day of that antibiotic and my ear is still plugged with loud ringing. My question is, could this be a viral ear infection since these antibiotics are not working? If so, is there anything I can be doing to help it? Also, is there a better antibiotic to be using for this? I have an appointment later this week, however, I wanted to go in prepared since what they have been using hasn't been working. Thank you )
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Up to a third of ear infections are, indeed, viral. Many bacterial bugs are amoxicillin resistant. Ofloxacin and Ciprofloxacin (expensive!) will only help if the drops can inside your middle ear. Many times, I have to tell you, that once the eardrum ruptures, the infection and pain tends to improve....just like opening a boil. Many clinicians will not use ANY antibiotics...oral or drops.

I have no way of determining the best care for you, since I can't see your ear, or do I know anything about your medical history. There are no "better antibiotics"....just some that are or may be more appropriate based on the clinical findings and history.

I suspect that the time you have this next visit in a week, you will be better. But, that is just a guess......
 
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pigpen143 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thank you for your reply. She prescribed me Ciprofloxacin orally. Is that typical or do they normally prescribe it in drop form? I hope my ear is better by next week. Thank you again for your help.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to pigpen143's response:
Depends on the severity of the case....Cipro does come in both forms (topical ear drops and orally). This antibiotic is much stronger than plain 'ol amoxicillin, so the switch was reasonable.

Using antibiotic eardrops tends to be done quite often, although it is controversial whether they help or not. Since the vast majority of eardrum ruptures heal very quickly, those drops may or may not be getting where they are needed - namely, in the middle ear (the area on the other side of the eardrum). Think of a ruptured eardrum as a cut finger -- do you expect your cut finger to still have bleeding and be wide open two or three days later? Like a finger, the eardrum heals quickly, and closes the hole. When this happens, the drops just lie in the ear canal.

Time is the great healer in most of these cases. Doctors throw a lot of antibiotics at them, since infections are often the cause in the first place, but an adult immune system does a pretty good job without too much medical intervention.


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