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Sinusitis - Medications

Medicines may be needed when symptoms of sinusitis are severe or do not improve. The goals of treatment with medicine are to:

  • Treat the infection, which is usually caused by bacteria if your symptoms have lasted more than 7 to 10 days.
  • Relieve pressure and pain caused by poor sinus drainage.
  • Reduce inflammation of the nose and sinuses.

Medicine choices

Medicines are used and sometimes combined to treat sinusitis. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label slideshow.gif.

What to think about

If you are taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, do not stop taking the antibiotics early just because you feel better. Take the entire course of antibiotics. The infection may not go away if you do not take all of the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.

Antibiotic treatment is successful in most cases of short-term (acute) sinusitis when it is caused by bacteria. You should notice improvement within 3 to 4 days after you begin taking an antibiotic.

Chronic sinusitis may last 12 weeks or longer and usually requires 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment. Symptoms may persist or return despite adequate antibiotic treatment. A different antibiotic may be needed to treat the infection. Referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist (also called an otolaryngologist) may be needed if symptoms of sinusitis do not go away despite long-term antibiotic treatment.

Sinusitis: Should I Take Antibiotics?

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 24, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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