Ear Drops vs Oral Antibiotics: Difference and Comparison

Ear infections are quite common. Hence, there are many types of treatment techniques available in the market. However, it is strictly advised not to choose any medication without consulting your doctor. Otherwise, the situation can become worse. The two most common treatments available are ear drops and oral antibiotics. Let’s discuss which of the two is more effective and beneficial for faster recovery.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ear drops are topical medications used to treat ear infections, while oral antibiotics are medications taken by mouth to treat infections in the body.
  2. Ear drops are more effective for treating localized ear infections, while oral antibiotics are better suited for treating systemic infections.
  3. Ear drops have fewer side effects and are less likely to cause antibiotic resistance than oral antibiotics, which can lead to overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Ear Drops vs Oral Antibiotics

The difference between ear drops and oral antibiotics is that ear drops are a liquid form of medications that are put or applied directly on the infected site, leading to a faster recovery of infections. On the other hand, oral antibiotics are tablets and capsules taken orally via the mouth, which shows their effect only they get digested and go into the bloodstream. However, the rate of recovery with the help of oral antibiotics is comparatively slower than the ear drops.

Ear Drops vs Oral Antibiotics
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The hazards of ear drops are lower. Outside of the ear, ear drops are effective against resistant germs. When it comes to bacteria, ear drops are more effective and can eliminate them more quickly and thoroughly. Because ear drops do not dissolve in the bloodstream, they can effectively reach the infection site. The side effects of ear drops are less severe. The cost of ear drops is lower. For infections, ear drops are appropriate.

Oral Antibiotics or Antibiotics taken orally carry a higher risk. Oral antibiotics are ineffective When resistant germs are observed outside the ear. Antibiotics taken orally are less efficient against germs and can take a long time to kill them. Antibiotics taken orally only act once they’ve been digested and dissolved in the bloodstream. Oral antibiotics are more expensive than drops, especially if the infection persists and more treatment is required. Oral antibiotics are more effective in the treatment of Swimmer’s Ear.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEar DropsOral Antibiotics
Side effectsFewer side effects. Higher chances of side effects.
Risks involvedFewer Risks Higher chances of risks involved
Infection outside earEar drops work better for outside ear infections. Oral Antibiotics can not work efficiently.
Effectiveness on bacteriaMore effective and can kill faster. Less efficient on bacteria.
Dissolution into bloodstreamDo not get dissolved into the bloodstream, hence works faster.Shows effect only after getting dissolved into the bloodstream, after being digested.
ExpensiveLess expensive. More expensive.
Suitable forInfections, especially outside the ear.Treatment of Swimmer’s Ear.

What are Ear Drops?

Ear drops are a liquid treatment placed or applied directly on the diseased area, resulting in faster infection recovery. There are fewer dangers with ear drops. Outside the ear, ear drops are effective against resistant germs. Ear drops are more efficient against bacteria, killing them more quickly and thoroughly. The reason is the ear drops do not dissolve in the bloodstream. They can efficiently reach the infection site.

There are fewer side effects with ear drops. Ear drops are less expensive than any other treatments available for ear issues. Infections can be treated using ear drops. Before using any ear drops, people who have a hole or tube in their eardrum should consult their doctor.

The drops have the potential to cause pain, illness, and even hearing loss. Other types of pills and capsules are also available that are administered by mouth and have no action until they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Thus, the rate of recovery with ear drops is far more effective and faster than any other medication technique.

ear drops

What are Oral Antibiotics?

Antibiotics used by mouth or oral antibiotics carry a higher risk of side effects. When resistant germs may be observed outside the ear, oral antibiotics will not work properly. Antibiotics taken orally have a lower efficacy against bacteria and can take a long time to kill them.

Oral antibiotics are only effective once they have been digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Oral antibiotics have been linked to an increased risk of adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhoea, stomach pain, allergic reactions, and skin rashes. Oral antibiotics are more expensive than drops, especially if the infection does not clear up after treatment.

Oral antibiotics are more effective when it comes to conditions like Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s Ear can also be treated with oral antibiotics. When the infection spreads beyond the ear, it is called otitis media. If the person has other diseases like diabetes, the chance of complications increases.

oral antibiotics

Main Differences Between Ear Drops and Oral Antibiotics

  1. Ear drops involve fewer risks in comparison to oral antibiotics, which involve more risks.
  2. Ear drops work well on resistant bacteria occurring outside the ear. On the other hand, oral antibiotics do not work appropriately when resistant bacteria can be seen outside the ear.
  3. Ear drops are more effective on bacteria and can kill them faster and completely in comparison to oral antibiotics.
  4. Ear drops do not get dissolved into the bloodstream. Hence they reach the infection site effectively. On the other hand, oral antibiotics work only after getting digested and dissolved into the bloodstream.
  5. Ear drops have fewer side effects. On the other hand, oral antibiotics are known to cause higher risks of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhoea, stomach pain, allergic reactions and skin rashes.
  6. Ear drops are less expensive. On the other hand, oral antibiotics are comparatively pricy than ear drops, especially when the infection does not get cured, and more treatment is required.
  7. Ear drops are suitable for infections. On the other hand, oral antibiotics are better for the treatment of issues such as Swimmer’s Ear.
Difference Between Ear Drops and Oral Antibiotics
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.01005.x
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.i308/rapid-responses?int_source=trendmd&int_medium=cpc&int_campaign=usage-042019

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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