Are antibiotics the right approach to treat sinusitis?

When the symptoms of sinusitis persist, it’s only natural to want to get better as soon as possible. A new study reveals, however, that patience is usually the best remedy, as antibiotics do not appear to speed up recovery in moderate cases. In fact, less than 2 percent of sinusitis cases are complicated by bacteria, which explains why antibiotics are ineffective in most individuals affected.

When the symptoms of sinusitis persist, it’s only natural to want to get better as soon as possible. A new study reveals, however, that patience is usually the best remedy, as antibiotics do not appear to speed up recovery in moderate cases. In fact, less than 2 percent of sinusitis cases are complicated by bacteria, which explains why antibiotics are ineffective in most individuals affected.

In order to show the virtues of supportive treatments, researchers recruited 166 American adults with acute rhinosinusitis. Patients were given an antibiotic or placebo that they had to take three times a day for 10 days. The volunteers took notes on their condition throughout the treatment. They also had the option of taking other medications to relieve symptoms such as pain, fever, cough and nasal congestion.

In terms of symptom frequency and quality of live, no difference was observed between the two groups after three days and ten days of treatment. There was also no significant difference in the number of work days missed, the ability to perform regular activities, the number of relapses and the use of additional health services.

Antibiotics should be avoided in healthy individuals suffering from mild or moderate sinusitis, since these infections are rarely bacterial in origin. Unless patients notice a worsening in their condition after five to seven days, the persistence of their symptoms beyond seven days, the presence of persistent fever or a marked impact on their general condition, seeing a doctor may not be necessary.

The symptoms of sinusitis can be alleviated with various over-the-counter products available at your pharmacy. For information on the products best suited to your overall health, don’t’ hesitate to discuss the matter with your pharmacist.

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