Another New Steroid Study
I have written before about the debate on nasal steroids, and whether they work as described or not. (They do, but only a little.) Now a new study has come out comparing oral steroids, also known as systemic steroids, to a placebo. And guess what?
The researchers, who published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that, for the most part, the symptoms lasted just as long in the steroid group as they did in the placebo group, between seven and nine days.
Also, a similar number of patients in each group felt totally free of symptoms within a week.
Among those who took steroids, 33 percent reported no symptoms after one week, and among those who took fake pills, 25 percent reported no more symptoms.
Similarly, 63 percent of people in the steroid group reported no facial pain or pressure after one week, as did 56 percent of people in the placebo group.
This is not a shocking result; most sinus specialists are more apt to use nasal steroids than systemic steroids for precisely this reason. Targeted application and a more limited range of affected tissue are the main reasons to favor nasal corticosteroids over their oral counterparts. Having said that, it is important to note that oral steroids do have a role in treating certain sinus disease.
But it is one more reminder that not every cure comes in a pill, and that the widespread overprescription of general drugs to treat specific sinus ailments may soon be going the way of the dodo.