From the Files of Things We Already Know: You Don’t Need Antibiotics
It is natural to seek out medicine when you don’t feel good. Our nation’s OTC wellness industry pulls in billions in revenue each year because of this desire, peddling every possible permutation of painkillers, cough suppressants, and other medications to the sniffling masses.
Prescription drugs tend to track right alongside OTC drugs in this regard, especially for symptoms of the ear, nose and throat. Yet despite massive waves of antibiotics that ENTs have thrown at upper respiratory diseases in the past few decades, humanity has experienced little lasting relief or long-term benefit to show for it.
That’s because the vast majority of ENT symptoms aren’t bacterial in nature, and even some of those that are can be quickly dispatched by your body’s natural defenses. Recently a new study underscored this fact:
In a study of 166 adults with acute sinusitis published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the antibiotic amoxicillin proved no better than a placebo at reducing symptoms after three days.
According to the AAAAI, not only will taking antibiotics not help you feel better, but it might also have unpleasant side effects that could leave you feeling worse.
And there is a bigger issue at stake here than the deleterious effects of unneeded antibiotics. These drugs are also monumentally important in our fight against more serious and deadly diseases. Overusing them as we have tends to give bacterial populations more opportunities to develop mutations that let them repel the medicine, a process known as resistance. Ultimately the rise of resistance renders these last-resort medications powerless in our war against fatal disease.
New guidelines have been issued as a result, focusing on the sinus symptoms which tend to be the cause of so many unnecessary scripts. The guidelines urge serious caution before any prescription is written, recommending a codified wait-and-see period that gives patients a chance to heal on their own, without the dubious benefit of preemptive antibiotics.
The Los Angeles Sinus Institute is helping lead the way with a strong commitment to preserving herd immunity. We apply a careful assay to determine which patients might need these important drugs due to issues of medical history or presentation, and err on the side of safety in every single case.
If you are looking for the most effective and rational approach to sinus care in Los Angeles, we’ve got you covered.