Are antibiotics effective for the treatment of sinusitis (sinus infection)?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Viral rhinosinusitis does not require antimicrobial treatment. Standard nonantimicrobial treatment options include topical steroids, topical and/or oral decongestants, mucolytics, and intranasal saline spray.

Antimicrobial therapy is the mainstay of medical treatment in sinusitis. The choice of antibiotics depends on whether the sinusitis is acute, chronic, or recurrent.

Antibiotic efficacy rates are as follows [54] :

  • Levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and amoxicillin/clavulanate - Greater than 90%

  • High-dose amoxicillin, cefpodoxime proxetil, cefixime, cefuroxime axetil, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole - 80-90%

  • Clindamycin, doxycycline, cefprozil, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and erythromycin - 70-80%

  • Cefaclor - 50-60%


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