Do antibiotics help cure sinusitis?

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Antibiotics for acute maxillary sinusitis (Cochrane Review)

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Do antibiotics help cure sinusitis?

Yes because sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses by bacteria. However exactly the same symptoms can occur with infection by viruses or in allergic reaction (rhinitis). In these cases antibioitics will not work. Studies have shown that antibiotics do help to cure sinusitis but that 3-day courses are as effective as 10-day courses. See the SMAC report for more details. A meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology found that there was little difference in effectiveness between different antibiotics (See the NHS Centre for Reviews & Dissemination website for more details). It should be noted that some studies suggest there may be little benefit to antibiotic treatment in sinusitis. See the NHS Centre for Reviews & Dissemination website for more details. So, if your doctor thinks you definitely have sinusitis he/she may prescribe a 3-day course of antibiotics, but if he/she thinks you just have infection by a virus or allergic reaction giving sinusitis-like symptoms you should not get any antibiotics.

Related Resources
Antimicrobial treatment in acute maxillary sinusitis: a meta-analysis
Maxillary sinusitis in adults: an evaluation of placebo-controlled double-blind trials
NHS Self-help Guide - Sinusitis
Factsheet - Sinusitis
Resources about Sinusitis
Antibiotics for acute maxillary sinusitis (Cochrane Review)

Date of Posting: 14/01/2003
Date of next Review: 15/01/2005

Related Questions:
So what else can I do to help get rid of my sinusitis-like symptoms?

MeSH keywords:
Sinusitis; Rhinitis; Antibiotics

Created by CeRC. Page last updated 15/1/2004. To contact us click here.

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