Sulfisoxazole, 75 mg/kg/d in two divided doses for 3 months, was administered in a double-blind placebo crossover study to 35 children aged 6 months to 5 years who had frequent recurring episodes of otitis media. There was a 40% reduction in the rate of otitis media among patients receiving sulfisoxazole compared with those receiving placebo (0.25 v 0.42 episode per patient-month) which did not depend on age, sex, season, or several other factors. Using a randomized order, among patients who received placebo first, there was a 64% reduction on sulfisoxazole therapy compared with placebo (0.20 v 0.56 episode per patient-month). In this subgroup, there was significant improvement in eustachian tube function according to serial tympanograms. In the patients who received sulfisoxazole first, the rate of acute otitis remained low on placebo (0.28 v 0.30 episode per patient-month), and tympanogram patterns continued to improve after discontinuation of the active drug. These differences suggest a carry-over effect from the benefits of chemoprophylaxis. There was no significant difference in the species or sensitivity patterns of bacteria isolated from patients receiving sulfisoxazole or placebo. Sulfisoxazole chemoprophylaxis appears to be safe and effective in significantly reducing episodes of otitis media and improving tympanogram patterns.

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