MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF SINUSITIS
When considering medical treatments it’s important to keep in mind that no one treatment will fit everyone. Medical treatment is an option for a wide range of sinus and sinus-related problems. Treatments are tailored to each individual depending on symptoms and diagnosis. Often multiple medications are used. Some medications such as antibiotics are taken for several weeks while others such as antihistamines may have to be taken longer.
You may be prescribed antibiotics if it is determined that you have an acute, chronic, or recurrent sinus infection. The dosage and duration will depend on your specific problem. Antibiotics are more commonly prescribed to take orally, but in some cases may be used in your nose.
If it is noted that you have a significant amount of nasal inflammation you may be prescribed an oral steroid (often in combination with an antibiotic) to help decrease the inflammation. Steroids do not cure sinus problems but will help bring them under control. They may be prescribed as pills or as an over the counter nasal spray.
Saline Irrigation Sprays
Using an over the counter mild saline spray or irrigation system regularly will cleanse and moisten the sinuses. This can cut down on infections. Sinus Irrigations are readily available over the counter.
Mucus Thinning Agent
Mucinex (guaifenesin) is our preferred mucous thinning agent. Mucinex acts by making mucus more watery so its easier to clear from your nose and sinuses. When using Mucinex it is very important to drink plenty of water.
Sinus patients with allergies may benefit from the use of antihistamines. They help reduce congestion, itching, sneezing, and the runny nose associated with allergies. They are available as either a prescription or over the counter and come in pill form or as a nasal spray.
Available as either a nasal spray or pill. We do not recommend nasal decongestant sprays as they are addicting and have a high potential for rebound congestion if used for more than 3 days. The only oral decongestant available is pseudoephedrine. It acts by reducing blood flow to the nose which shrinks the membranes in the nose. Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant and there are several drawbacks to its use such as it can raise blood pressure, make you jittery, anxious, and interfere with sleep, which is why decongestants are not safe for everyone. Ask one of our providers if you have questions about using a decongestant.
Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Motrin are useful to help with headaches and facial pain associated with sinusitis.
Note - we frequently make recommendations for over the counter medicines using the OTC.me app. OTCme is free and easy to use. If you would like to download the app click here.