Dr. Greene’s Answer:
There is no single antibiotic that is ‘best’ for ear infections. A number of different antibiotics each play an important role under different circumstances and sometimes it is better to treat with no antibiotics at all.
Augmentin is an excellent antibiotic. It is very effective against the main three bacteria that cause ear infections — even those that tend to be resistant. For this reason it can be a great choice for those children with infections that do not clear up with a first-line antibiotic.
Zithromax is a good choice for children who have an allergy to penicillin/amoxicillin or have a hard time taking medications. The main advantage of Zithromax is the convenient dosing — one to five doses total, as compared to ten to twenty for Augmentin. Some studies have shown Zithromax to be as effective as Augmentin for treating ear infections (Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2003).
Last reviewed: April 21, 2008