Antibiotics Don’t Help In The Treatment Of Sinus Infections [ News Release ]

According to St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine investigators, antibiotics are not any better than inactive placebos to lessen the symptoms people feel from sinus infections.antibiotics for sinus infection?

Otolaryngology professor Dr. Jay F. Piccirillo said patients are not getting any better quicker nor have less sinus infections when taking antibiotics. The results show antibiotics are unnecessary for the most basic sinus infections, as folks tend to get better themselves.  This study can be found in February 15’s Journal of the American Medical Association edition.

According to the authors, in the U.S. alone, nearly one in five prescriptions for antibiotics is written for sinus infections. Now, there are a number of drugs that don’t work on bacteria. And, because of that it’s important if this is an effective kind of treatment. According to the research, the results are not effective.

Research Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Jane M. Garbutt said antibiotics are being overprescribed in the primary-care setting.  However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is leading a movement to improve the prudent use of antibiotics.  Garbutt said the study was done to provide scientific proof for doctors so that they can explain to their patients why antibiotics isn’t likely going to help with their acute sinus infection.

Researchers suggest dealing with the symptoms – cough, congestion and pain – using a wait and see method to determine if any further treatment is needed instead of using antibiotics.

166 adults were involved with the study; every one of their symptoms fit the acute sinus infection criteria that was recommended by an expert panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For participation, a patient’s symptoms needed to be categorized as moderate, severe or very severe. They also have to report tenderness or pain in the sinuses and face and have a lasting nasal discharge of seven to 28 days. Patients with serious complication or chronic sinus infections did not get included in the study.

Patients were given either a 10-day course of antibiotics such as amoxicillin or a placebo. Whether they got amoxicillin or not, every single patient obtained medication for their cough, fever, congestion and relieving pain.

Researchers judged the symptoms of each patient at the beginning of the treatment then another three, seven, 10 and 28 days later.  After three days, there was no change between the placebo and antibiotic groups. After seven days, minor improvement was seen with the antibiotic group. Garbutt said the minor change was implausible to show any major relief from the symptoms.

By day 10, about 80 percent of the patients in the amoxicillin and placebo groups conveyed that their symptoms were either cured or very significantly improved.  There was also no difference in the placebo or antibiotic groups in the number of medications the patients used to deal with the cough, congestion, pain and fever.

Garbutt said sinusitis is a nasty disease with real symptoms. People feel miserable and will miss work, she said. She also said there is no easy answer to what will be beneficial to treating sinusitis especially if antibiotics are not the answer.


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