Which medications are used in the treatment of epiglottitis?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Antibiotic therapy should begin after blood and epiglottic cultures have been obtained. Antipyretic agents may also be necessary. Racemic epinephrine, corticosteroids, and beta-agonists have not been proven to be helpful in epiglottitis. In addition, corticosteroid usage remains controversial, as anecdotal reports in the past had supported its use.

A study by Lee et al indicated that the treatment of epiglottic abscess with a combination of needle aspiration and antibiotics can reduce hospitalization time for patients below that for patients treated with antibiotics alone. However, the study also found that outcomes of the two treatments did not significantly differ, with significant symptom improvement achieved in both groups. [32]

A study from Beijing that looked at more than 8.5 million outpatient cases of acute upper respiratory tract infection in tertiary hospitals found that the highest antibiotic prescription rate (73.6%) was for acute tonsillitis, sinusitis, and epiglottitis. The overall antibiotic prescription rate was 39.0%. [33]

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