New guidelines recommend NOT using antibiotics for sinus infections

These studies have seemed to surprise many of my patients, but most seem to accept it. The Boston Globe “Daily Dose” blog reports on Wednesday, “the Infectious Disease Society of America issued new guidelines … calling for a halt to antibiotic prescriptions for most sinus infections.”

The group “recommended that antibiotics be prescribed only for patients with” certain “sinus symptoms, which suggest a bacterial, not viral infection.”

“About 14 percent (one in seven) of people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year, and sinus infections remain the fifth leading reason for an antibiotic prescriptions,” HealthDay reported.

“However, between 90 percent and 98 percent of the infections are caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).” The group “noted that the inappropriate overuse of antibiotics is encouraging the development of tough-to-treat, drug-resistant bacteria or ‘superbugs.'”

Medscape reported, “In a major shift from older guidelines developed by other organizations, the new IDSA guidelines also recommend treating bacterial sinus infections with amoxicillin-clavulanate vs amoxicillin, the current standard of care.”

In addition, “the guidelines also recommend against using other commonly used antibiotics, including azithromycin, clarithromycin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, because of increasing drug resistance.

Other IDSA recommendations include shorter treatment times with antibiotics in adult patients; avoidance of decongestants and antihistamines, which may worsen symptoms; and use of irrigation with sterile solution.”

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