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Failure of Xylitol Given Three Times a Day for Preventing Acute Otitis Media

Hautalahti, Outi MD; Renko, Marjo MD, PhD; Tapiainen, Terhi MD, PhD; Kontiokari, Tero MD, PhD; Pokka, Tytti BSc; Uhari, Matti MD, PhD

Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal:
doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000259956.21859.dd
Original Studies

Background: Xylitol administered regularly 5 times a day after each meal is successful in preventing acute otitis media (AOM) in children, but if given only during respiratory infections it is ineffective against AOM. To find a more convenient dosing regimen, we tested whether xylitol administered 3 times a day reduces the occurrence of AOM.

Methods: In this 3-month randomized, double-blind trial, 663 healthy day care children were randomized to receive either a control product (n = 331) or xylitol (n = 332). Xylitol was given in chewing gum or in a mixture 3 times a day, the daily dose being 0.5 g in the control group and 9.6 g in the xylitol group. The occurrence of the first AOM diagnosed during any period of respiratory symptoms during the follow-up was the main outcome measure.

Results: At least one AOM episode was diagnosed in 98 of the 331 children who received control products (30%) and in 94 of the 332 who received xylitol products (28%). A total of 142 episodes of AOM were diagnosed in the control group compared with 156 in the xylitol group. The differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Xylitol given regularly 3 times a day for 3 months during the respiratory infection season failed to prevent AOM.

Author Information

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.

Accepted for publication January 25, 2007.

Address for correspondence: Matti Uhari, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.