The millions of children who develop ear infections each year now have a new treatment option: The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a simple injection of the antibiotic Rocephin for therapy in youngsters with middle-ear infections.
But the high cost of Rocephin (ceftriaxone) may give parents and physicians second thoughts about choosing this treatment, said Dr. Steve Berman, director of health policy at the University of Colorado and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on child health financing.
A 10-day supply of the antibiotic amoxicillin--the standard therapy for ear infections--costs about $5, Berman said, while an injection of Rocephin runs between $60 to $80.
For this reason, doctors should reserve use of Rocephin for children whose ear infection has spread to their blood or lungs and for those youngsters who are unlikely to complete a full, 10-day course of oral antibiotics, Berman said. The high cost of Rocephin "is why it should not be the routine treatment for ear infections."