Antibiotics Prescribed Longer than Required for Sinus Infection

by Hannah Joy on Apr 3 2018 12:31 PM

Antibiotics Prescribed Longer than Required for Sinus Infection
Antibiotic courses are being prescribed for more than 10 days to treat an acute sinus infection in adults. However, the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends for only five to seven days.
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is the most common condition for which outpatient antibiotic treatment is prescribed.

When antibiotics are indicated for treatment of bacterial sinusitis, a treatment duration in line with the Infectious Diseases Society of America's practice guidelines is an antibiotic stewardship opportunity to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics.

Almost 3.7 million visits by adults to physicians where antibiotics were prescribed for acute sinusitis using a 2016 national index that is a sample of drug therapies prescribed by private practice physicians.

Antibiotics were grouped as penicillins, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, azithromycin or other; treatment duration in days was described for all antibiotic prescriptions, all antibiotic prescriptions excluding azithromycin, and antibiotic prescriptions by drug group.

This was a descriptive study, so the researchers did not gather information about underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.

The authors of the study were Laura M. King, M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and coauthors.

Overall, 69.6 percent of antibiotic therapies were prescribed for 10 days or longer. When prescriptions for azithromycin were excluded, 91.5 percent of antibiotic courses were 10 days or longer.

The limitations of this study was that authors cannot account for underlying conditions or other reasons for longer courses of antibiotic treatment.