This nice scientific paper pits various antiseptic solutions against each other to determine which has the most bactericidal properties. Five different antiseptics were applied to MRSA and quinolone-resistant pseudomonas species, which are both difficult to treat with conventional ototoxic medications. Burow’s solution (100% or 50%), acetic acid, vinegar/water and boric acid were compared, 100% Burow’s solution came out on top. I had not come across this before: it was described by Karl August von Burow in the late 19th century and consists of 13% aluminium acetate (pH 3.06). Burow’s solution was particularly effective against MRSA when compared with the other solutions. Given the strong acidic nature of 100% Burow’s solution and the ototoxic side-effects, a diluted 50% solution may be used with similar effects and a pH near 4, which is more acceptable to the inner ear. Burow’s solution has been shown to be effective in up to 80% of chronic otologic infections in vivo. So, how to combat the rise of the ear super bugs? 50% Burow’s solution is certainly worth thinking about when faced with that chronically draining ear and drug-resistant bacteria. 

Comparative antibacterial activity of topical antiseptic eardrops against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and quinolone-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Youn CK, Jang S-J, Jo E-R, et al.
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Patrick Spielmann

NHS Tayside/University of Dundee, UK.

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