Shortened Antimicrobial Treatment for Acute Otitis Media in Young Children


Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media.


We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin–clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms.


Children who were treated with amoxicillin–clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001).


Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; number, NCT01511107.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2446-2456December 22, 2016

Seeing the same GP associated with fewer admissions

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Older patients who see the same general practitioner over time experience fewer avoidable admissions to hospital, new research shows. | BMJ | OnMedica


The Health Foundation research, published in The BMJ, shows that if patients saw their most frequently seen GP two more times out of every 10, this was associated with 6% fewer admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions such as asthma, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia.

The researchers examined whether continuity of care with a general practitioner is associated with hospital admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions for older patients. Data was analysed from over 230,000 anonymised patient records for older people aged 62-82 years.

The research found there were fewer hospital admissions for certain conditions when patients saw the same GP more consistently. The authors stress this is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. However, they conclude, “strategies to improve the continuity of care in…

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Pioglitazone use and risk of bladder cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes: retrospective cohort study using datasets from four European countries

Objective To evaluate the association between pioglitazone use and bladder cancer risk in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Design Retrospective cohort study using propensity score matched cohorts.

Settings Healthcare databases from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Data comprised country specific datasets of linked records on prescriptions, hospitals, general practitioners, cancer, and deaths.

Participants Patients with type 2 diabetes who initiated pioglitazone (n=56 337) matched with patients with type 2 diabetes in the same country exposed to diabetes drug treatments other than pioglitazone (n=317 109). Two matched cohorts were created, using a 1:1 fixed ratio (nearest match cohort) and a 1:10 variable ratio (multiple match cohort). Patients were matched on treatment history and propensity scores accounting for several variables associated with pioglitazone initiation.

Main outcome measures Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by Cox’s proportional hazards model with adjustments for relevant confounders. To assess the robustness of the findings, several sensitivity and stratified analyses were performed.

Results In the cohort exposed to pioglitazone treatment, 130 bladder cancers occurred over a mean follow-up time of 2.9 years. In the nearest match and multiple match cohorts not exposed to pioglitazone treatment, 153 and 970 bladder cancers were recorded, with a mean follow‑up time of 2.8 and 2.9 years, respectively. With regards to bladder cancer risk, the adjusted hazard ratio for patients ever exposed versus never exposed to pioglitazone was 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.75 to 1.30) and 1.00 (0.83 to 1.21) in the nearest and multiple match cohorts, respectively. Increasing duration of pioglitazone use and increasing cumulative dose were not associated with risk of bladder cancer (>48 months of pioglitazone use, adjusted hazard ratio 0.86 (0.44 to 1.66); >40 000 mg cumulative dose, 0.65 (0.33 to 1.26) in the nearest match cohort).

Conclusions This study shows no evidence of an association between ever use of pioglitzone and risk of bladder cancer compared with never use, which is consistent with results from other recent studies that also included a long follow-up period.

Trial registration Registered to the European Union electronic register of post-authorisation studies (EU PAS register no EUPAS3626).

BMJ 2016;354:i3903

Effect of Avoidance on Peanut Allergy after Early Peanut Consumption


In a randomized trial, the early introduction of peanuts in infants at high risk for allergy was shown to prevent peanut allergy. In this follow-up study, we investigated whether the rate of peanut allergy remained low after 12 months of peanut avoidance among participants who had consumed peanuts during the primary trial (peanut-consumption group), as compared with those who had avoided peanuts (peanut-avoidance group).


At the end of the primary trial, we instructed all the participants to avoid peanuts for 12 months. The primary outcome was the percentage of participants with peanut allergy at the end of the 12-month period, when the participants were 72 months of age.


We enrolled 556 of 628 eligible participants (88.5%) from the primary trial; 550 participants (98.9%) had complete primary-outcome data. The rate of adherence to avoidance in the follow-up study was high (90.4% in the peanut-avoidance group and 69.3% in the peanut-consumption group). Peanut allergy at 72 months was significantly more prevalent among participants in the peanut-avoidance group than among those in the peanut-consumption group (18.6% [52 of 280 participants] vs. 4.8% [13 of 270], P<0.001). Three new cases of allergy developed in each group, but after 12 months of avoidance there was no significant increase in the prevalence of allergy among participants in the consumption group (3.6% [10 of 274 participants] at 60 months and 4.8% [13 of 270] at 72 months, P=0.25). Fewer participants in the peanut-consumption group than in the peanut-avoidance group had high levels of Ara h2 (a component of peanut protein)–specific IgE and peanut-specific IgE; in addition, participants in the peanut-consumption group continued to have a higher level of peanut-specific IgG4 and a higher peanut-specific IgG4:IgE ratio.


Among children at high risk for allergy in whom peanuts had been introduced in the first year of life and continued until 5 years of age, a 12-month period of peanut avoidance was not associated with an increase in the prevalence of peanut allergy. Longer-term effects are not known. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others; LEAP-On number,NCT01366846.)

Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73)

Objective To examine the traditional diet-heart hypothesis through recovery and analysis of previously unpublished data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE) and to put findings in the context of existing diet-heart randomized controlled trials through a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Design The MCE (1968-73) is a double blind randomized controlled trial designed to test whether replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid reduces coronary heart disease and death by lowering serum cholesterol. Recovered MCE unpublished documents and raw data were analyzed according to hypotheses prespecified by original investigators. Further, a systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that lowered serum cholesterol by providing vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid in place of saturated fat without confounding by concomitant interventions was conducted.

Setting One nursing home and six state mental hospitals in Minnesota, United States.

Participants Unpublished documents with completed analyses for the randomized cohort of 9423 women and men aged 20-97; longitudinal data on serum cholesterol for the 2355 participants exposed to the study diets for a year or more; 149 completed autopsy files.

Interventions Serum cholesterol lowering diet that replaced saturated fat with linoleic acid (from corn oil and corn oil polyunsaturated margarine). Control diet was high in saturated fat from animal fats, common margarines, and shortenings.

Main outcome measures Death from all causes; association between changes in serum cholesterol and death; and coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarcts detected at autopsy.

Results The intervention group had significant reduction in serum cholesterol compared with controls (mean change from baseline −13.8% v −1.0%; P<0.001). Kaplan Meier graphs showed no mortality benefit for the intervention group in the full randomized cohort or for any prespecified subgroup. There was a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL (0.78 mmol/L) reduction in serum cholesterol in covariate adjusted Cox regression models (hazard ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.14 to 1.32; P<0.001). There was no evidence of benefit in the intervention group for coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarcts. Systematic review identified five randomized controlled trials for inclusion (n=10 808). In meta-analyses, these cholesterol lowering interventions showed no evidence of benefit on mortality from coronary heart disease (1.13, 0.83 to 1.54) or all cause mortality (1.07, 0.90 to 1.27).

Conclusions Available evidence from randomized controlled trials shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes. Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid.

BMJ 2016;353:i1246

Different systolic blood pressure targets for people with history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack: PAST-BP (Prevention After Stroke—Blood Pressure) randomised controlled trial

Objective To assess whether using intensive blood pressure targets leads to lower blood pressure in a community population of people with prevalent cerebrovascular disease.

Design Open label randomised controlled trial.

Setting 99 general practices in England, with participants recruited in 2009-11.

Participants People with a history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack whose systolic blood pressure was 125 mm Hg or above.

Interventions Intensive systolic blood pressure target (<130 mm Hg or 10 mm Hg reduction from baseline if this was <140 mm Hg) or standard target (<140 mm Hg). Apart from the different target, patients in both arms were actively managed in the same way with regular reviews by the primary care team.

Main outcome measure Change in systolic blood pressure between baseline and 12 months.

Results 529 patients (mean age 72) were enrolled, 266 to the intensive target arm and 263 to the standard target arm, of whom 379 were included in the primary analysis (182 (68%) intensive arm; 197 (75%) standard arm). 84 patients withdrew from the study during the follow-up period (52 intensive arm; 32 standard arm). Mean systolic blood pressure dropped by 16.1 mm Hg to 127.4 mm Hg in the intensive target arm and by 12.8 mm Hg to 129.4 mm Hg in the standard arm (difference between groups 2.9 (95% confidence interval 0.2 to 5.7) mm Hg; P=0.03).

Conclusions Aiming for target below 130 mm Hg rather than 140 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure in people with cerebrovascular disease in primary care led to a small additional reduction in blood pressure. Active management of systolic blood pressure in this population using a <140 mm Hg target led to a clinically important reduction in blood pressure.

By Jonathan Mant et al, BMJ 2016;352:i708