Medicines may be needed when symptoms of
sinusitis are severe or do not improve. The goals of
treatment with medicine are to:
- Treat the infection, which is usually caused by
bacteria if your symptoms have lasted more than 7 to 10
- Relieve pressure and pain caused by poor sinus
inflammation of the nose and sinuses.
Medicines are used and sometimes combined to treat
- Antibiotics kill bacteria. Examples of
antibiotics used are amoxicillin and cefdinir
- Decongestants reduce the swelling of the mucous
membranes in the nose. Some examples may include oxymetazoline
(for example, Afrin) and phenylephrine (for example, Neo-Synephrine).
- Analgesics relieve pain. Some examples include acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) and
ibuprofen (for example, Advil).
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the nasal
passages. Some examples include beclomethasone (Beconase) or mometasone (Nasonex).
- Mucolytics thin mucus. Some examples include guaifenesin (for example, Robitussin).
What to think about
If you are taking antibiotics
for a sinus infection, do not stop taking the antibiotics early just because
you feel better. Take the entire course of antibiotics. The infection may not
go away if you do not take all of the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Antibiotic treatment is successful in most cases of
short-term (acute) sinusitis when it is caused by
bacteria. You should notice improvement within 3 to 4
days after you begin taking an antibiotic.
Chronic sinusitis may last 12 weeks or longer and usually
requires 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment. Symptoms may persist or return
despite adequate antibiotic treatment. A different antibiotic may be needed to
treat the infection. Referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist
(also called an
otolaryngologist) may be needed if symptoms of
sinusitis do not go away despite long-term antibiotic treatment.
- Sinusitis: Should I Take Antibiotics?
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
September 12, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.