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Cerumen (Earwax) Impaction

Docusate sodium (Colace) liquid was superior to triethanolamine polypeptide (Cerumenex) in removing ear wax, according to a trial published in the Annals of Emergency Medicne.

Trial Details:

  • 50 patients enrolled age 1 to 81 (mean age 40).
  • Ability to completely visualize the tympanic membrane occurred in 81% of the docusate group and 35% of the triethanolamine group.
  • A larger difference was seen in children age < 5. (90% vs 0%.)

The Protocol:

  • 1 ml was instilled into the ear.
  • Tympanic membrane was assessed at 15 minutes.
  • If not clear, irrigation was conducted with 50-100 ml normal saline.

Singer AJ, Sauris E, Viccellio AW. Ceruminolytic effects of docusate sodium: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Emerg Med. 2000;36(3):228-32. PubMed

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