Eardrops are commonly prescribed for many ear infections and often also following surgery to the ear. In most situations they are preferable to antibiotics by mouth as it allows a high concentration of antibiotic to be delivered to the site of action and avoids the side effects of antibiotics by mouth.
Ear drops can be safely used in the presence of a perforation for short periods of time to treat active infection although the information leaflet with the drops may say to avoid in the presence of a perforation. The safest antibiotic drops to use are those containing the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. This comes in several different forms such as ciprofloxacin eye drops (can be safely used in the ear), cetraxal ear drops and ciloxan drops with contains ciprofloxacin with a steroid in addition.
Ideally lie with the treated ear uppermost on a sofa or in bed and administer the drops to the ear. Pull the ear back and up to allow the drops to go in easily.
Lie there for five minutes to allow the drops to soak in. A little may still leak out after treatment.
Many drops are slightly acidic and can sting when used. If you have a hole in the ear drum, you may taste the drops in your throat.
It is not possible to overdose on the drops and should aim to administer a little more than less if in doubt and do not worry if more has gone in than intended, it can be hard to judge.
The cartilage flap at the front of the ear (the tragus) can be pressed in and out to help pump the drops into the ear a little deeper.
If you find drops difficult to use ask if a spray would be appropriate instead for your treatment.