In an attempt to assess the effect of antibiotic choice on the treatment of peritonsillar abscess, we compared the clinical efficacy of empiric intramuscular clindamycin and intravenous ampicillin/sulbactam (following needle aspiration of the abscess) in a prospective, randomized study of 58 patients. Patients in the clindamycin group were treated on an outpatient basis, whereas those in the ampicillin/sulbactam group were hospitalized for the duration of their treatment (minimum: 7 days). Comparison of clinical outcomes with respect to the posttherapeutic duration of fever and throat pain and the time to resumption of eating revealed no statistically significant difference between the two groups. These results suggest that intramuscular clindamycin is an excellent choice and can be safely prescribed on an outpatient basis following needle aspiration, thereby reducing both antibiotic and hospital costs.
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