Antibiotics don't help sinus infections, study finds

Antibiotics don't help sinus infections, study finds

Taking the commonly-used antibiotic, amoxicillin, for most acute sinus infections doesn’t help with the symptoms or speed up recovery, according to a new study published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, studied the effect of a 10-day course of amoxicillin treatment on adults with acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, which is inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses. Some of the patients’ most common symptoms at the beginning of the study included facial pain or pressure, postnsasal discharge, cough and runny nose, according to a JAMA news release.

All the patients also received five-to-seven days worth of medication for pain, fever, cough and nasal congestion to use as they needed,  with 94 percent in the amoxicillin group using one or more of the treatments vs. 90 percent in the control group.

The outcome: There was no statistically significant difference in reported symptom improvement between the amoxicillin and control groups at days three and 10. At day seven, 74 participants in the amoxicillin group felt better vs. 56 percent in the control group.

There was also no difference between those who took antibiotics and those who didn’t in terms of missed days of work, ability to perform usual activities, relapse rates and recurrence within 28 days, according to the study authors.

The researchers wrote there is now considerable evidence from clinical trials conducted in primary care settings that antibiotics "provide little if any benefit for patients with clinically diagnosed acute rhinosinusitis."

Source: JAMA news release
 

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