Antibiotics: Not Always for Sinus Infections

Over the past month antibiotics have really made the headlines. First the FDA restricted a particular antibiotic due to incidents of severe liver problems. Next, HealthDay News reported that many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. And finally, it seems some chickens possess antibiotic resistant bacteria—all very scary stuff.

Well, it gets worse. According to the Associated Press new research has determined that antibiotics commonly prescribed for sinus infections might not be a good idea because most cases are caused by a virus rather than bacteria. Timberly Ross reports:
The researchers say the findings are troubling because overuse of antibiotics is leading to more virulent and even drug-resistent bacteria. Their concerns echo those of doctors who've studied the effectiveness of antibiotics on ear infections.

"We don't want to be using up our antibiotics on these people," said Dr. Don Leopold, chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology who worked on the sinus study.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, looked at two national surveys of patient data from 1999 to 2002. They showed 14.28 million doctor visits were for diagnosed chronic rhinosinusitis and another 3.12 million for acute rhinosinusitis.
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