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Antibiotics Disappointing for Sinusitis

People with sinusitis are frequently prescribed antibiotics in the hope of clearing up the infection behind the inflammation. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the antibiotic amoxicillin made no difference in curing symptoms or improving quality of life.

The study was conducted on 166 people with sinusitis who were randomized to receive 10 days of amoxicillin or placebo three times a day. The results were assessed with the Sinonasal Outcome Test, known for short as SNOT-16.

One group of patients did benefit from antibiotic treatment. Those who had nasal obstruction at the outset were nearly five times more likely to have improved a week later on amoxicillin compared to those without nasal obstruction. The researchers concluded that “antibiotics provide little if any benefit for patients with clinically diagnosed acute rhinosinusitis.”

[JAMA, Feb. 15, 2012]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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