Treatment of Chronically Infected Open Mastoid Cavities With Medical Honey: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Darius Henatsch*, Frederik Wesseling, Jacob J. Briede, Robert J. Stokroos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To investigate the efficacy of medical honey as topical treatment of chronically discharging open mastoid cavities in comparison with conventional eardrops.Single-center, prospective, randomized controlled, double-dose trial of 12 weeks.Twenty-eight patients diagnosed as having a chronically discharging open mastoid cavity underwent medical honey gel (intervention) or conventional eardrops (control) treatment. Treatment interventions were repeated after 4 weeks.Visual analogue scale of ear complaints, cavity inflammation, and bacterial infection.Most patients had a cavity with localized granulation. After treatment, inflammation score decreased in both groups (p <0.05), with more pronounced inflammation-free cavities in the honey group. Honey treatment resulted in less discomfort (p <0.001) and otorrhea (p <0.001), even after correction for additional medication use (p <0.05, p <0.01). This decrease was not seen in the control group. Pain and itching did not change on treatment. Most cavities were infected with Pseudomonas species and Staphylococcus aureus. After treatment, a 23% increase of negative culture was seen with honey compared with 30% in the control group (nonsignificant). No serious adverse reactions were found.Medical honey gel is a safe alternative treatment option for patients with a chronically discharging open mastoid cavity and beneficial in reducing discomfort, otorrhea, and inflammation with a bactericidal effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-787
JournalOtology & Neurotology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Ear
  • Honey
  • Open mastoid cavity


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