ENT antibiotics

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis

Organisms involved are polymycrobial but often include Fusobacterium necrophorum, Treponema spp, Selenomonas, and Prevotella

Uncomplicated Disease

Additional Therapies for the immunocompromised

For patient with AIDS or immunocompromised with risk of oral candidal infection then add:

Additional Therapies for all patients

  • Chlorhexidine 0.01% oral rinse BID
  • Hydrogen peroxide swishing (innexpensive home remedy)
  • Ibuprofen 400-600mg 3 times daily for pain
    • Magic Mouthwash (multiple variations) - 300cc of 1:1:1 viscous lidocaine 2%, Maalox, diphenhydramine 12.5mg/5ml elixir




  • Doxycycline 100mg PO BID for 7 days OR
  • Azithromycin 1g (20mg/kg) PO one time dose
  • Newborn Treatment: Azithromycin 20mg/kg PO once daily x 3 days or erythromycin PO 50 mg/kg/day in 4 divided doses for 14 days [3]
    • Disease manifests 5 days post-birth to 2 weeks (late onset)


  • Due to increasing resistance, CDC recommends dual therapy with Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin (even if patient is negative for Chlamydia).
  • Ceftriaxone 250mg IM one dose PLUS
  • Azithromycin 1g PO one dose
  • Newborn Treatment:
    • Prophylaxis: Erythromycin ophthalmic 0.5% x1
    • Disease manifests 1st 5 days post delivery (early onset)
    • Treatment Ceftriaxone 25-50mg IV or IM, max 125mg or cefotaxime single dose of 100 mg/kg (preferred if the patient has hyperbilirubinemia)
    • Also requires evaluation for disseminated disease (meningitis, arthritis, etc.)

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • Counsel patient/family on importance of hand hygiene/avoiding touching face to prevent spread!
  • Apply warm or cool compresses (for comfort and cleansing) every 4 hours, followed by instillation of ophthalmic antibiotic solutions

These options do not cover gonococcal or chlamydial infections

  • Polymyxin B/Trimethoprim (Polytrim) 2 drops every 6 hours for 7 days OR
  • Erythromycin applied to the conjunctiva q6hrs for 7 days OR
  • Levofloxacin 0.5% ophthalmic solution 1-2 drops every 2 hours for 2 days THEN every 6 hours for 5 days OR
  • Moxifloxacin 0.5% ophthalmic 1-2 drops every 2 hours for 2 days THEN every 6 hours for 5 days OR
  • Gatifloxacin 0.5% ophthalmic solution 1-2 drops every 2 hours for 2 days THEN 1 drop every 6 hours for 5 days OR
  • Azithromycin 1% ophthalmic solution 1 drop BID for 2 days THEN 1 drop daily for 5 days
  • Chloramphenicol 0.5% ophthalmic solution 1 drop QID for 7 days

NB: levofloxacin is preferred for contact lens wearers for coverage of pseudomonas. Advise not to wear contacts for duration of treatment


Coverage targets Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus pyogenes, and Haemophilus influenzae, and H. parainfluenzae



Coverage should extend to all of the typical organisms above as well as Pseudomonas, M. tuberculosis, and C. albicans

Dental Abscess

Treatment is broad and focused on polymicrobial infection

Ludwig's Angina

  • Must cover typical polymicrobial oral flora and tailored based on patient's immune status
  • Most commonly a 3rd generation cehpalosporin + (clindamycin or metronidazole)
  • If the patient is immuncompromised, the antibiotics need to also cover MRSA and gram-negative rods[5]

Immunocompetent Host[6]



Coverage against S. pneumoniae, S. pyogenes, S. aureus, H. influenzae

Trench Mouth (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis)


also nystatin oral rinses of 5ml q6 hrs daily for 14 days will help with concominent fungal infection

HIV positive

in addition to antibiotic regimen consider an oral anti-fungal or nystatin

  • Fluconazole 200mg PO daily for 14 days

Otitis Media

Initial Treatment

  1. Amoxicillin 80-90mg/kg/day divided into 2 daily doses 7-10 days

Treatment during prior Month

  1. If amoxicillin taken in past 30 days, Amoxicillin/Clavulanate
    • 80-90mg of amoxicillin per kg/day PO divided BID x 7-10 days
    • Clavulanate increases vomiting/diarrhea
  2. Cefdinir 14mg/kg/day BID x7-10 days
  3. Cefpodoxime 10mg/kg PO daily x7-10 days
  4. Cefuroxime 15mg/kg PO BID x7-10 days
  5. Cefprozil 15mg/kg PO BID x7-10 days


  • Suggestive of non-typeable H.flu
  1. Amoxicillin/Clavulanate
    • 80-90mg of amoxicillin per kg/day PO divided BID x 7-10 days
    • Clavulanate increases vomiting/diarrhea

Treatment Failure

defined as treatment during the prior 7-10 days

  1. Amoxicillin/Clavulanate
    • 80-90mg of amoxicillin per kg/day PO divided BID x 7-10 days
  2. Ceftriaxone 50mg/kg IM once as single injection x 3 days
    • Use if cannot tolerate PO

Penicillin Allergy

  1. Azithromycin 10mg/kg/day x 1 day and 5mg/kg/day x 4 remaining days
  2. Clarithromycin 7.5mg/kg PO BID x 10 days
  3. Clindamycin 10mg/kg PO three times daily

Otitis Externa

  1. Ofloxacin (Floxin otic): 5 drops in affected ear BID x 7 days[8]
    • Safe with perforations
  2. Ciprofloxacin-hydrocortisone (Cipro HC): 3 drops in affected ear BID x 7 days
    • Contains hydrocortisone to promote faster healing
    • Not recommended for perforation since non-sterile preparation
  3. Ciprofloxacin-dexamthasone (Ciprodex): 4 drops in affected ear BID x 7 days
    • Similar to Cipro HC but safe for perforations
    • Often more expensive
  4. Cortisporin otic (neomycin/polymixin B/hydrocortisone): 4 drops in ear TID-QID x 7days
    • Use suspension (NOT solution) if possibility of perforation
    • Animal studies suggest possible toxicity from the neomycin although rigorous data is lacking[9]

Streptococcal Pharyngitis

Treatment can be delayed for up to 9 days and still prevent major sequelae

Penicillin Options:[10]

  • Penicillin V 250mg PO BID x 10d (child) or 500mg BID x 10d (adolescent or adult)
  • Bicillin L-A <27 kg: 0.6 million units; ≥27 kg: 1.2 million units IM x 1
  • Amoxicillin 500-875 mg PO q12h or 250-500 PO q8h for 10d[11]

Penicillin allergic (mild):[10]

  • Cefuroxime 10mg/kg PO QID x 10d (child) or 250mg PO BID x 4d
  • Cefixime 400mg/day PO in single daily dose x10d or divided q12hr x10d

Penicillin allergic (anaphylaxis):[10]

  • Clindamycin 7.5mg/kg PO QID x 10d (child) or 450mg PO TID x 10d OR
  • Azithromycin 12mg/kg QD (child) or 500mg on day 1; then 250mg on days 2-5

Periorbital Cellulitis



Treatment recommended for 5-7 days. If signs of cellulitis persist at the end of this period, treatment should be continued until the eyelid erythema and swelling have resolved or nearly resolved.

- In children: 8 to 12 mg/kg QD of the TMP component divided every 12 hours

- In children: 30 to 40 mg/kg per day in three to four equally divided doses, maximum 1.8 grams per day

PLUS one of the following agents:

- In children: usual dosing is 45 mg/kg per day divided every 12 hours; dosing for severe infections or when penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae is a concern (using the 600 mg/5 mL suspension) is 90 mg/kg per day divided every 12 hours

- In children <12 years of age: 10 mg/kg per day divided every 12 hours, usual maximum dose 200 mg; in children ≥12 years and adolescents: 400 mg every 12 hours

- In children: 14 mg/kg per day, divided every 12 hours, maximum daily dose 600 mg


Vancomycin 15-20mg/kg IV BID + (one of the following)

Peritonsillar Abscess

Coverage for Streptococcus species, anerobes, Eikenella, H. influenza, S. auresus

Outpatient Options

Inpatient Options


  • Antibiotics do not help with severity or duration but may decrease infectivity.
  • A reasonable guideline is to treat persons aged >1 year within 3 weeks of cough onset and infants aged <1 year and pregnant women (especially near term) within 6 weeks of cough onset. [12]
  • TMP--SMZ should not be administered to pregnant women, nursing mothers, or infants aged <2 months.[13]
  • The following regemins are for active disease or postexposure prophylaxis. If a patient is has confirmed disease and is likely to be in contact with infants or pregnant women then the patient should be treated as up to 6-8 weeks after the onset of their illness.

< 1 month old

Same antibiotics for active disease and postexposure prophylaxis

>1 month old

  • Azithromycin 10mg/kg (max 500mg/day) daily x 5 days
    • if > 6 months old then day 2-5 of treatment should be reduced to 5mg/kg (250mg/day max)
  • TMP/SMX 4mg/kg PO BID daily for 14 days (if > 2 months old)


any of the following antibiotics are acceptable although azithromycin is most commonly prescribed

Suppurative Parotitis

Treatment targeted at S. aureus, gram negative bacilli, mumps, enteroviruses, and influenza virus


  • Nystatin oral suspension 400,000-600,000 units (swish and swallow) Q6H until 48 hours after symptoms disappear OR
  • Clotrimazole 10 mg troches 5 times/day for 14 consecutive days OR
  • Fluconazole 200 mg (Peds: 6 mg/kg) PO on day one, followed by 100 mg (Peds: 3 mg/kg_ daily for two weeks.
    • Fluconazole is reserved for moderate to severe disease

Pediatric Dosing

If the patient is breast feeding it is important for the mother to treat her nipples before and after feeding

  • Nystatin Oral Suspension
    • 100,000 units/ml for 14 days for all ages
    • Premature infants should only have 0.5 - 1 mL given to each side of the mouth every 6 hours
  • Clotrimazole 10mg PO five times daily for 14 days
    • reserved for patients > 3 years old

See Also

Antibiotics by diagnosis

For antibiotics by organism see Microbiology (Main)


  1. Atout R. N. et al. Managing Patients with Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis. J Can Dent Assoc 2013;79:d46. http://www.jcda.ca/article/d46. Accessed April 2015
  2. Walker C. et al. Rationale for use of antibiotics in periodontics. J Periodontol. 2002. 73(1):1188-96
  3. Zikic A, Schünemann H, Wi T, Lincetto O, Broutet N, Santesso N. Treatment of Neonatal Chlamydial Conjunctivitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2018 Aug 17;7(3):e107-e115. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piy060. PMID: 30007329; PMCID: PMC6097578.
  4. Young LS, Price CS. Complicated adult epiglottitis due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Am J Otolaryngol. Nov-Dec 2007;28(6):441-3.
  5. Costain N, Marrie T. Ludwig’s Angina. American Journal of Medicine. Feb 2011. 124(2): 115-117
  6. Barton E, Blair A. Ludwig’s Angina. J Emerg Med. 2008. 34(2): 163-169.
  7. Spitalnic SJ, Sucov A. Ludwig's angina: case report and review. J Emerg Med. 1995;13:499-503
  8. Clinical Practice Guideline: Acute Otitis Externa Executive Summary. Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery 2014 150: 161 DOI: 10.1177/0194599813517659 PDF
  9. Wright, C. et al. Ototoxicity of neomycin and polymyxin B following middle ear application in the chinchilla and baboon. Am J Otol. 1987 Nov;8(6):495-9.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Shulman, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis and Management of Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis: 2012 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2012;55(10):1279–82
  11. Shah, U. K., MD. (2020, October 14). Tonsillitis and Pharyngitis Organism-Specific Therapy: Specific Organisms and Therapeutic Regimens. Emedicine. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2011872-overview
  12. CDC - Pertussis http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/treatment.html
  13. CDC MMWR Pertusis http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5414a1.htm