MRSA otorrhea: A case series and review of the literature | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

MRSA otorrhea: A case series and review of the literature

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February 1, 2011
by Katherine M. Baugher, DO, Troy Sommers Hemme, DO, Mary Hawkshaw, RN, BSN, CORLN, and Robert T. Sataloff, MD, DMA, FACS


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become an increasingly common cause of difficult-to-treat head and neck infections. We report a retrospective analysis of 3 cases of MRSA otorrhea treated in our clinic between 2007 and 2009. Culture analysis of otorrhea isolates revealed MRSA infections with identical drug sensitivities. Treatment success was achieved using combinations of linezolid with gentamicin ear drops for 3 to 4 weeks or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) with gentamicin drops for 6 weeks. This study illustrates the importance of determining individual drug sensitivities for optimal treatment and maintaining current knowledge of the local MRSA strains. Empiric combination therapy of TMP/SMX with gentamicin is an effective first-line treatment for MRSA otorrhea. Regional differences in clindamycin sensitivities warrant clinical discretion. Fluoroquinolones should be avoided because of high rates of resistance unless culture sensitivity determines that they are appropriate. First-line agents for severe infections include combination therapy with vancomycin or linezolid.

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