Antibiotics for sinus infection

Healthinfi

Sinusitis is the most common complication of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI). This disease occurs with the same frequency in male and female patients. Approximately 10% of adult population and 5% of children suffer from some form of sinusitis.

During the initial period of the disease, the virus multiplies in the throat, nose and nasopharynx; this may cause a runny nose, cough and scratchy throat. Once the virus is in the blood, the body begins to produce antibodies that subsequently clear the blood and the disease symptoms weaken. If this does not happen, the disease will progress that may require the use of antibiotics.

Despite the fact that ARVI is a virus, against which antibiotics are ineffective, sinusitis is accompanied with bacterial infection. In this case, different types of antibiotics can be recommended.

Antibiotics for the treatment of sinus infection can be used regardless of the disease severity – mild, moderate or severe. There are some clinical forms of the disease:

  • Acute sinusitis (less than 3 months).
  • Chronic sinusitis (more than 3 months).
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis (a few cases per year).
  • Exacerbation of chronic sinusitis (the appearance of new symptoms or worsening of the existing).

In proper use of antibiotics, the following symptoms of sinus infection weaken and disappear:

  • nasal congestion;
  • pain in the head;
  • intracranial pressure;
  • temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius;
  • purulent discharge from the nose or mouth.

Antibiotics should be chosen on the basis of data on the predominant pathogens of sinusitis. In addition, the severity of the patient’s condition and resistance of pathogens can affect the choice of drugs. The main pathogens are:

  • Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and others – acute sinusitis, recurrent acute sinusitis and exacerbation of chronic sinusitis.
  • Anaerobes, gram-negative bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, fungi, and others – chronic sinusitis.

To kill or to inhibit the bacterial growth of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae, medications containing active substance Amoxicillin or a combination of substances Amoxicillin / Clavulanate potassium are most often used. You can buy these antibiotics under the original trade names Prevpac, Moxatag, Larotid, Augmentin, Amoxil or under the international nonproprietary name Amoxicillin and Clavulanate potassium.

If these drugs are ineffective and/or sinus infection is caused by other pathogens, it is possible to use alternative antibiotics – Azithromycin, Cefaclor, Clarithromycin, Doxycycline and others. Typically, these drugs are prescribed in moderate sinus infection.

Severe acute sinusitis occurs rarely. For the treatment of this disease form, it is also possible to use drugs containing Amoxicillin and/or Clavulanate potassium and some more antibiotics, such as:

  • Cephalosporins
  • Ampicillin / sulbactam

In sinus infection, the method of antibiotic administration can depend on the disease severity. Mild and moderate sinusitis is usually treated by means of oral antibiotics (tablets, capsules). In severe sinusitis, it is possible to use drugs intended for intravenous administration. As the general state improves, antibiotics intended for oral intake can be used.

The duration of treating sinus infection depends on the form and severity of the disease. In acute sinusitis, antibacterial therapy is most often carried out within 7-10 days, but in exacerbation of chronic sinusitis – up to 21 days. Social indications, suspected complications and other factors can become a reason for hospitalization.

One of the best ways to avoid sinusitis disease and antibiotics use is prevention. Since ARVI and sinus infection mainly appear in cold season, strengthening the immune system is the basis of prevention. The easiest way to strengthen the immune system is to consume a sufficient amount of vitamins and prevention of hypothermia.

How It Works

Antibiotics kill or prevent the growth of bacteria that cause some sinus infections.

Acute sinusitis

When using antibiotics to treat acute sinusitis, it may be helpful to remember that:

  • The number of days you take antibiotics depends on your general health, how serious your sinusitis is, and the type of antibiotic you are taking.
  • A different antibiotic may be needed if your condition does not begin to improve within 3 to 5 days.
  • Other medicines, such as decongestants, inhaled corticosteroids, and medicines that help thin the mucus (mucolytics), may be prescribed as well to improve sinus drainage.

Chronic sinusitis

When using antibiotics to treat chronic (long-term) sinusitis, it may be helpful to remember that:

  • The number of days you take antibiotics depends on your general health, how serious your sinusitis is, and the type of antibiotic you are taking.
  • The choice of antibiotic often depends on which antibiotics have worked well for you in the past. If an antibiotic normally used to treat your sinusitis was successful in the past, it may be used again. If it did not work very well, a different antibiotic may be tried.
  • Other medicines, such as decongestants, inhaled corticosteroids, and medicines that help thin the mucus (mucolytics), may be prescribed as well to improve sinus drainage.

Why It Is Used

Antibiotics may be needed when symptoms of sinusitis do not respond to home treatment, symptoms are severe, or complications (such as pus forming in sinus cavities) develop.

  • Amoxicillin is often the first choice in treating sinusitis because it is usually effective and has few side effects. It should not be used if you are allergic to amoxicillin or have been diagnosed with mononucleosis.
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole may be prescribed for people who are allergic to amoxicillin.

Other antibiotics may be prescribed to treat bacterial infections that are resistant to amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

How Well It Works

Antibiotic treatment of sinusitis is generally safe and very effective. Most people recover completely when they are treated with antibiotics.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don’t feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.
  • Fainting or lightheadedness.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Skin rash.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

It is important to take all of the medicine your doctor prescribes. Keep taking it even after you begin to feel better. This is especially important when treating sinusitis because the antibiotics do not easily penetrate the mucus inside the sinuses.

Your doctor will try to select an antibiotic that is most likely to kill the bacteria causing your sinusitis. If the antibiotic fails to cure your sinusitis, another may be tried. If your condition does not improve, further testing may be needed to find which antibiotic will work best for you.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don’t take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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