A One-Two Punch Against Antibiotics
I have already written about the recent Cochrane study that suggested antibiotics may not be worth prescribing in the early stages of sinusitis. That study covered a wide range of antibiotics, and incorporated the results from several published medical studies.
A second study in the Lancet has specifically targeted amoxicillin and come to much the same conclusion, namely that this commonly prescribed drug has apparently lost all effectiveness due to overprescription:
“Patients given amoxicillin don’t recover much quicker or have significantly fewer symptoms,” coauthor Paul Little, M.D., of the University of Southampton in the U.K., said in a prepared statement. “Our results show that most people get better on their own.” Little said that overuse of antibiotics can lead to “side effects such as diarrhea, rash, vomiting and the development of resistance.”
Chronic sinusitis and rhinitis are serious problems that may develop into severe problems over time, so nothing in this study should minimize the care or attention with which we treat these issues. But the study’s authors have made a compelling case that the prophylactic prescription of these powerful medications is a pretty bad idea.
The best way to treat persistent, painful sinus symptoms is by visiting an ENT specialist who can help you get well through a focused and effective approach. But when your general practitioner wants to put you on antibiotics just to be safe, chances are there’s nothing especially safe about it.