TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Despite their increasing popularity as a treatment for sinusitis, corticosteroids do not seem to ease the symptoms of this common infection, a new Dutch study suggests.
"This condition can considerably impair daily functioning, and its unpleasant symptoms may have a negative influence on the quality of life," said study author Dr. Roderick Venekamp, a postdoctoral researcher and general practitioner trainee in the department of otorhinolaryngology at the University Medical Centre Utrecht.
"As a consequence, patients' needs toward an effective therapy are often high. This might explain the high antibiotic prescribing rates in daily practice," Venekamp said. "However, previous studies revealed that the vast majority of patients with mild to moderate acute rhinosinusitis do not benefit from antibiotics."
"Nowadays, intranasal corticosteroids -- anti-inflammatory drugs -- are increasingly being used to alleviate symptoms," he said. "Evidence regarding their benefits is, however, inconclusive, [and] based on our findings we conclude there is no rationale for using corticosteroids in patients with symptoms consistent with acute rhinosinusitis."
The study appears in the current issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The authors note that acute sinusitis -- which strikes about 31 million Americans every year -- is principally viral in origin, a byproduct of the common cold. That said, allergies and bacterial infection also sometimes play a role.
Nasal inflammation and blockage are key symptoms of the condition, as are headaches accompanied by facial pain and pressure.
Previous research, including an Oxford University review of six prior investigations involving corticosteroid nasal sprays that was published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, have shown this approach to be of questi
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