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Efficacy of sinusitis treatments questioned

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Common treatments used for acute sinusitis are no more effective than a placebo, a study has revealed.

A study by Southampton University researcher Dr Ian Williamson showed that antibiotics and nasal steroid sprays were ineffective in treating sinusitis, despite a 92% prescription rate in the UK .

The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of amoxicillin and budesonide in acute maxillary sinusitis. It placed 240 adults with acute non-recurrent sinusitis on a combination of the steroid, antibiotic or placebo.

The results found very little difference in symptom duration for those taking the drugs and those taking the placebo. The percentage of patients taking budesonide experienced the same duration of symptoms as those taking no budesonide.

Dr Williamson said: ‘Our main conclusions are that among patients with the typical features of acute bacterial sinusitis, neither an antibiotic nor a topical steroid alone or in combination are effective in altering the symptom severity, the duration or the natural history of the condition.’

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