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Antibiotics are no help against most sinus infections

Ace February 16, 2012 0

According to investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Antibiotics that doctors typically prescribe for sinus infections do not reduce symptoms any better than an inactive placebo.

Just to set to set the story straight, people suffering from sinus infections have lasting and severe cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose and pain around the eyes, nose or forehead.

The main issue here is that doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections even thought they don’t help fight most sinus infections.

Researchers whose work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that antibiotics didn’t comfort patients’ symptoms or get them back to work any quicker than an inactive placebo pill.

Experts have begun to grow extremely worries over antibiotics overuse due to the fact that they fuel the evolution of drug bacteria. This is a concern with sinus infections because doctors can’t tell if the disease is caused by bacteria or by a virus. Ultimately leading to the idea that antibiotics are useless.

Jane Garbutt of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who led the study said, “There is not much to be gained from antibiotics”.

In an interview with Reuters Health she added,”Rather than give everybody an antibiotic hoping to find the (patients) with bacteria, our findings would suggest refraining from antibiotics and doing what we call watchful waiting”.

This idea would involve keeping an eye on a patient to see if they get better and not using anything other than over-the-counter painkillers.

What’s strange is that Sinus Infections are the fifth most common reason that antibiotics are prescribed for adults. Almost seems like a scam of that doctors don’t know any better so they say here take it it’ll help.

According to an article written by Elain Lies and Bob Tourtellotte of Reuters Health,

Garbutt and her colleagues used official U.S. guidelines to identify patients with sinus infections. They randomly assigned 166 adults to either placebo pills or a 10-day treatment with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Based on patient ratings on a symptom scale known as the modified Sinonasal Outcome Test-16, or SNOT-16, the researchers found little difference between the two patient groups.

Using the scale, where 0 equals “no problem” and 3 a “severe problem,” the antibiotic group rated their symptoms at 1.12 after three days, while the placebo group averaged 1.14.

After seven days, there were signs of benefit from the antibiotic, but the effect was small and had vanished another three days later.

After 10 days, 78 percent of the people on antibiotics and 80 percent of the placebo-treated people said they felt a lot better or no longer had symptoms.

Anthony Chow, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada said “fewer than two percent of sinus infections are bacterial.  Most cases are viral, and the vast majority don’t require antibiotics.”

Seems like antibiotics are been abused in order to strengthen the fear in society and make the health and insurance industry more money. There has got to be a need to be more cautious in prescribing them and to make sure they are being prescribed with a purpose that will actually make a difference.


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Elaine Lies and Bob Tourtellotte


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