NICE has published NICE Guideline (NG) 91 on Otitis media (acute): antimicrobial prescribing.

Acute otitis media can be a common presentation in primary care and as such presents a common reason to consider prescribing antimicrobials. As with other infections however, many cases of acute otitis media will resolve within a week. Antibiotics offer little or no improvement in the majority of cases.

As such, prescribing only when clinical necessary or offering a precautionary back-up prescription may be appropriate to avoid unnecessary antimicrobial prescribing. This is an important aspect of the ongoing campaign to prevent the rapid onset of antimicrobial resistance.

The recommendations made in NG91, including a 2-page visual summary on good prescribing practice for acute otitis media, include advice on:

  • managing acute otitis media, including advice when an antibiotic is not needed
  • choice of antibiotic when a back-up or immediate prescription is needed
  • self-care.