Antibiotics Can’t Cure a Sinus Infection?
Big news this week: a study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association found that antibiotics do not offer any significant help against a sinus infection. So now you are wondering: have we all been doing it wrong?
Well, yes and no. Last week I discussed the growing menace of drug resistance in Europe and the U.S. The culprit here is twofold: overprescribing of antibiotics generally, and the writing of scripts for specific ailments by practitioners who lack advanced training in those ailments.
The latest study is properly viewed through the lens of this global trend: yet more evidence that too many doctors are prescribing too many common medications for issues that aren’t likely to respond.
Dig deeper into the news and you will discover that the study only covered amoxicillin, one of the most common and least targeted antibiotics we have in our arsenal. The data were crystal clear:
On day 3, there was no difference in improvement between placebo-takers and those prescribed antibiotics. On day 7, the antibiotic group reported a slight improvement that the researchers said was unlikely to represent a noticeable relief in symptoms, but that edge disappeared by day 10, when 80 percent of patients in both groups reported they felt better or cured.
So what’s going on here? Read on:
According to the authors, as many as one in five antibiotic prescriptions are for sinus infections . . . . The study authors say antibiotics are overused in the primary care setting, which may contribute to the rising rates in antibiotic resistance.
Exactly. There is, in fact, no evidence that properly prescribed antibiotics for properly diagnosed bacterial sinus infections will not work. I’m here to tell you they do. What this study demonstrates is yet another stark example that sophisticated drugs require specialists to be dispensed correctly.
So: if you have serious sinus symptoms, go see an experienced ENT. You’ll be glad you did.