Earwax: Should It Be Removed?

W. Steven Pray, PhD, DPh; Joshua J. Pray, PharmD


US Pharmacist. 2005;30(5) 

In This Article

Ceruminolytic Agents

Physicians may remove cerumen through the use of operating microscopes, suction, or flushing equipment. They may prescribe ceruminolytic solutions to soften the earwax, facilitating removal.[7] One such product, Cerumenex, contains triethanolamine. Its efficacy was not superior to a saline placebo in one study.[5] In a Cochrane database exploration of the efficacy of ear drops for earwax removal, investigators concluded that insufficient evidence existed for the usefulness of ceruminolytics for the removal of symptomatic cerumen.[8]

The sole nonprescription ceruminolytic agent recognized by the FDA as safe and effective for the removal of cerumen is carbamide peroxide. Its use is discussed in this month's Patient Information.