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Antibiotics may not help routine sinus infections
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11:26, December 05, 2007

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A British study suggested that antibiotics were only kind of placebo and could not really help the routine sinus infections, media reported Wednesday.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 240 adults suffering from routine sinus infections to receive one of four treatments: 500 milligrams of amoxicillin three times daily for seven days and 400 units of steroid spray for 10 days; only amoxicillin; only steroid spray; or fake medicine.

The results showed that patients on the drugs didn't get better quicker than those using the placebo.

Antibiotics, particularly the penicillin-like drug amoxicillin, are among the most commonly prescribed medicines for sinus infections. But the researchers said that the routine sinus infections could improve within about two weeks without antibiotics.

"The current view that antibiotics are effective can now be challenged, particularly for the routine cases which physicians treat," said lead author Dr. Ian Williamson of the University of Southampton in England.

Although antibiotics are designed to treat bacteria, "the drugs aren't always very effective at treating bacterial sinus infections because the medicine has a tough time reaching the sinuses," explained Dr. Vincenza Snow, a director of clinical programs and quality of care at the American College of Physicians.

The U.S. physicians' group had blamed overuse of antibiotics for its contribution to the growing problem of bacteria resistant to drugs.


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