Why antibiotics are not better than placebo for treating sinusitis

Antibiotics commonly prescribed for sinus infections are no more effective at relieving sinusitis symptoms than a placebo, according to a new US study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association /JAMA/ .

It included 166 adults whose symptoms met criteria for an acute sinus infection as defined by experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To participate, patients’ symptoms had to be classified as moderate, severe or very severe.

Specifically, they had to report pain or tenderness in the face and sinuses, and nasal discharge of duration between 7 and 28 days.

Patients with chronic sinus or respiratory tract infections or serious complications from this condition were not included in the study.

Study participants were given a 10-day course of amoxicycline or placebo therapy. All patients are provided with medication to relieve pain, fever, nasal congestion and cough.

Scientists assessed the condition of the participants 3, 7, 10 and 28 days after starting treatment, looking at possible relapses and reoccurrence of symptoms and missed work days.

On the third day, the researchers found no difference in condition between the antibiotic-treated group and the placebo-treated group.

On the seventh day, a slight but statistically insignificant improvement was observed in the antibiotic group. By the tenth day, when about 80% in both groups of patients reported almost complete resolution of symptoms and cure.

Scientists found no difference in the condition of the participants in the groups treated with antibiotics and those who received a placebo and accordingly only used drugs to relieve pain, to lower body temperature and to unclog the nose.

Similar data are not available for Bulgaria, but in Great Britain 90% of people with sinusitis are prescribed antibiotics.

And in the US, in 20% of cases when antibiotic therapy is prescribed, it is for a sinus infection.

Given the emergence of bacteria resistant to these drugs, the study authors point out that it is important to determine whether they help patients heal at all.

Apparently from the conducted research, it is completely unnecessary prescribing antibiotics and even harmful to health.

Natural Ways to Treat Sinusitis

Steam Inhalations

One of the best ways to relieve the pain caused by sinusitis is regular steam inhalations, and their effectiveness increases if essential oils are used.

To do this, pour some slightly cooled boiled water into a large bowl and cover your head with a towel while inhaling the released steam for about 10-15 minutes.

The procedure should be carried out at least 2 times a day.

Essential oils that can be added to the water are eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, thyme, yarrow and frankincense. It is necessary to add a total of 4 drops of essential oil in each bowl of water.


Garlic, hydrastis, yarrow, black elder and yarrow have been proven effective in sinusitis and can be taken as infusions or as tinctures.

Excess mucus in the body can be regulated by taking diuretic herbs such as nettle, dandelion and red clover.

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