For audiologists practicing in a medical center, evaluating the hearing of children diagnosed with otitis media is a daily task. Not surprisingly, otitis media is the most common reason U.S. children receive antibiotics — and suffer from temporary conductive hearing loss.
Antibiotics, taken orally, are an essential part of the treatment plan for many of these children. The requisite 7- to 10-day course of oral antibiotics, however, can be challenging to deliver in children, entails potential systemic toxicity, and encourages selection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
Promising New Treatment Compound
In a recent study published on September 14 in Science Translational Medicine, researchers from Boston’s Children’s Hospital & Boston Medical Center developed a drug delivery system that, when applied once to the tympanic membrane through the external auditory canal, delivers an entire course of antimicrobial therapy to the middle ear.
The chemical compound, pentablock copolymer poloxamer 407–polybutylphosphoester (P407-PBP), is designed to flow easily during application and then to form a gel-like substance on the tympanic membrane.
According to the article, this drug delivery system completely eradicated otitis media from nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) in 10 of 10 chinchillas, whereas only 62.5% of animals receiving 1% ciprofloxacin alone had cleared the infection by day seven.
The hydrogel system was biocompatible in the ear, and ciprofloxacin was undetectable systemically (in blood), confirming local drug delivery and activity. The gel evaluated in this study could improve compliance, minimize side effects, and prevent systemic distribution of antibiotics in one of the most common pediatric illnesses, possibly minimizing the development of antibiotic resistance.
*featured image courtesy medicaldaily