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ABSTRACT Recurrent acute otitis media (rAOM) is frequently encountered in infants and children and the lack of any definitive treatment has led parents and physicians to try complementary and alternative therapies. We evaluated the efficacy of a propolis and zinc suspension in preventing AOM in 122 children aged 1-5 years with a documented history of rAOM, who were prospectively, blindly, randomized 1:1 to receive the suspension plus elimination of environmental risk factors or elimination of environmental risk factors only. AOM- and respiratory-related morbidity were assessed at study entry and every four weeks. In the 3-month treatment period AOM was diagnosed in 31 (50.8%) children given the propolis and zinc suspension and in 43 (70.5%) controls (p=0.04). The mean number of episodes of AOM per child/month was 0.23+/-0.26 in the propolis and zinc group and 0.34+/-0.29 in controls (reduction 32.0%, p=0.03). The administration of a propolis and zinc suspension to children with a history of rAOM can significantly reduce the risk of new AOM episodes and AOM-related antibiotic courses, with no problem of safety or tolerability, and with a very good degree of parental satisfaction. No effect can be expected on respiratory infections other than AOM.