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Antibiotics of no help in sinus infection?

Antibiotics prescribed for sinus infections are ineffective as they do not reduce symptoms any better than an inactive placebo. Sinus infection symptoms include sinus headache, facial tenderness, pressure...

health and fitness Updated: Feb 15, 2012 12:46 IST

Antibiotics prescribed for sinus infections are ineffective as they do not reduce symptoms any better than an inactive placebo.

"Our results show that antibiotics aren't necessary for a basic sinus infection - most people get better on their own," says study co-author Jay F. Piccirillo, professor of otolaryngology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Sinus infection symptoms include sinus headache, facial tenderness, pressure or pain in the sinuses, fever, cloudy drainage and feeling of nasal stuffiness, sore throat and cough.

In the US, as many as one in five antibiotic prescriptions are for sinus infections, Journal of the American Medical Association reports.

And given the rise of resistant bugs, researchers say it is important to find out whether this treatment is effective, according to a Washington statement.

"We feel antibiotics are overused in the primary care setting," says Jane M. Garbutt, research associate professor of medicine at Washington, who led the study.

In practice, instead of giving antibiotics, such as the amoxicillin used in this study, researchers suggest treating symptoms such as pain, cough and congestion, along with watchful waiting to see whether further treatment is necessary.

The study included 166 adults whose symptoms fit the criteria for acute sinus infection recommended by an expert panel convened by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.