Medical

Single-dose antibacterial ear drops don't require refrigeration

Single-dose antibacterial ear ...
Commonly-used daily-dose ear drops (pictured) typically don't require refrigeration, but they may not work if patients miss doses or don't administer them correctly
Commonly-used daily-dose ear drops (pictured) typically don't require refrigeration, but they may not work if patients miss doses or don't administer them correctly
View 1 Image
Commonly-used daily-dose ear drops (pictured) typically don't require refrigeration, but they may not work if patients miss doses or don't administer them correctly
1/1
Commonly-used daily-dose ear drops (pictured) typically don't require refrigeration, but they may not work if patients miss doses or don't administer them correctly

Outer ear infections can get serious if left untreated, which is exactly what may happen in places lacking infrastructure. A new medication could help, though, as it's applied in just one dose, and it doesn't need to be refrigerated.

Currently, bacterial infections of the outer ear are treated either with antibiotic drops that the patient self-administers every day for one to two weeks, or with a single clinical dose of a sustained-release antibiotic. The latter is certainly more convenient – plus it doesn't rely on patients remembering to give themselves a daily dose – but it also requires refrigeration. This means that it often isn't available in remote regions or developing nations.

Led by Assoc. Prof. Monica Serban, scientists at the University of Montana set out to develop a single-dose alternative that could be kept at room temperature.

They started by combining a compound known as activated tetraethyl orthosilicate with large molecular weight polymers and an antibiotic called ciprofloxacin – the latter doesn't need to be refrigerated. The resulting mixture stays in a liquid state when in a syringe, but forms into a hydrogel when injected into the ear canal. That gel stays in place for several days, gradually diffusing the ciprofloxacin.

In lab tests, the hydrogel remained stable at temperatures ranging from 39.2 to 104 ºF (4 to 40 ºC), and killed cultured bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Importantly, because of the sustained-release factor, it was able to do so utilizing about one one-hundredth the amount of antibiotics used in most commercial ear drops.

Additionally, when the gel was injected into the ears of mice, it lasted 10 days before dispersing, and appeared to affect the animals' hearing no more than standard ear medications. What's more, it also didn't harm or irritate a model of human skin.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Source: American Chemical Society

4 comments
Wombat56
It's good that this procedure allows a much smaller dose of the antibiotic than usual, because ciprofloxacin potentially has a long and nasty set of associated side effects.
Signguy
And then there's Xylitol that's been proven to kill harmful bacteria/ear infections without ANY complications; and it's cheap!
Karmudjun
Wombat & Sign - valid points, but not entirely apropos. Xylitol has been proven to REDUCE ear infections (otitis media) in children, but many ear infections can merely be treated with tylenol for the pain and the tincture of time (usually 2-3 days). If a child has an upper respiratory infection - where a good number of the otitis media infections come from - Xylitol has proven ineffective even in Finland where most of the successful studies were held. Look out with systemic xylitol consumption regarding stomach upset and diarrhea, those complications are not infrequent!

Beware of Ciprofloxin resistance. It has become a significant problem with E coli in the past 25 years and although the nasty side effect of tendon rupture is real, it is rare - and of the others that I have treated, I would not call them nasty. So seriously folks, don't take your medical advice from the internet - your physician and/or pharmacist should discuss risk factors for side effects of any medication as it is prescribed. The quinolones - and any antibiotic - can wreak havoc on your gut flora so talk to your specialist and ask about what therapies are required.
BNAF
And colloidal silver. Slower, yes. But no possibility of resistance development.