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Antibiotics Don't Help Most Sinus Infections, Study Finds
Date:2/14/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Treating a sinus infection with antibiotics doesn't speed recovery, new research shows.

"We did a randomized clinical trial among adults with a clinical diagnosis of acute sinusitis, and found no benefit from the antibiotic compared to the placebo for the treatment of acute sinusitis," said study author Dr. Jane Garbutt, a research associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Still, one in five antibiotic prescriptions for adults in the United States are written for sinus infections, according to the study.

"Acute sinusitis is a miserable disease. People want something to make them feel better, and there are not very many treatment options, so patients ask their doctors for antibiotics. But, we think most of the time, acute sinusitis is a viral infection, so antibiotics won't help," said Garbutt.

Results of the study are published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities. Pain in the forehead is a common symptom, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Another common symptom of sinusitis is nasal secretions, which may drip down the back of the throat, according to NIAID. Colds and allergies are common causes of sinusitis, though sometimes bacteria are at fault.

Current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend antibiotics only for those with moderately severe or severe symptoms.

Given the increase of bacteria resistance to antibiotics, the researchers wanted to test their effectiveness, so they looked at 166 adults diagnosed with acute sinusitis. Thirty-six percent of the study volunteers were male and 78 percent were white, according to the study. People with chronic sinusitis (lasting more th
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