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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

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: May 2007 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 423-427
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.

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.