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Reducing antibiotic use for acute sinusitis in children

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Key messages

  • Antibiotics are not recommended for treatment of acute sinusitis except in severe cases or for those at high risk of complications.

  • In a placebo-controlled trial of antibiotic treatment of acute sinusitis in children there was a small reduction in symptom score but an increased risk of diarrhoea.

  • The effect of antibiotic treatment did not differ between children with coloured nasal discharge or children with clear nasal discharge.

In children with acute sinusitis, antibiotic treatment had minimal benefit on symptom burden and duration, and the effect did not differ between those with and without coloured nasal discharge.1


This double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial took place in primary care centres in the USA and involved 510 children aged 2–11 years with persistent or worsening symptoms of acute sinusitis and who scored ≥9 on the Pediatric Rhinosinusitis Symptom Scale …

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  • Contributors DTB Team.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.