Medical Treatment for Acute Sinusitis Medication

Updated: Mar 29, 2018
  • Author: Ted L Tewfik, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

Medical drainage is achieved with topical and systemic vasoconstrictors. Oral alpha-adrenergic vasoconstrictors, including pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, can be used for 10-14 days to allow for restoration of normal mucociliary function and drainage. Because oral alpha-adrenergic vasoconstrictors may cause hypertension and tachycardia, they may be contraindicated in patients with cardiovascular disease. Oral alpha-adrenergic vasoconstrictors may also be contraindicated in competitive athletes because of rules of competition. Topical vasoconstrictors (eg, oxymetazoline hydrochloride) provide good drainage, but they should be used only for a maximum of 3-5 days, given the increased risk of rebound congestion, vasodilatation, and rhinitis medicamentosa when used for longer periods.

Mucolytic agents (eg, guaifenesin, saline lavage) have the theoretical benefit of thinning mucous secretions and improving drainage. They are not, however, commonly used in clinical practice in the treatment of acute sinusitis. Intranasal steroids have not been conclusively shown to be of benefit in cases of acute sinusitis.

Antihistamines are beneficial for reducing ostiomeatal obstruction in patients with allergies and acute sinusitis; however, they are not recommended for routine use for patients with acute sinusitis. Antihistamines may complicate drainage by thickening and pooling sinonasal secretions.

In cases of suspected or documented bacterial sinusitis, the second principle of treatment is to provide adequate systemic treatment of the likely bacterial pathogens (ie, S pneumoniae, H influenzae, M catarrhalis). The physician should be aware of the probability of bacterial resistance within their community. Approximately 44 % of H influenzae and almost all of M catarrhalis strains have beta-lactamase–mediated resistance to penicillin-based antimicrobials in children. As many as 64% of S pneumoniae strains are penicillin resistant because of altered penicillin-binding proteins. Multiple drug–resistant S pneumoniae strains are also found in substantial numbers of children in daycare settings. [20]

Initial selection of the appropriate antibiotic therapy should be based on the likely causative organisms given the clinical scenario and the probability of resistant strains within a community. The course of treatment is usually 14 days. First-line therapy at most centers is usually amoxicillin or a macrolide antibiotic in patients allergic to penicillin because of the low cost, ease of administration, and low toxicity of these agents. Amoxicillin should be given at double the usual dose (80-90 mg/kg/d), especially in areas with known S pneumoniae resistance.

Table 1. Dosage, Route, and Spectrum of Activity of Commonly Used First-Line Antibiotics* (Open Table in a new window)

Antibiotic

Dosage

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Haemophilus influenzae

Moraxella catarrhalis

Anaerobic bacteria

Sensitive

Intermediate

Resistant

Amoxicillin

500 mg PO tid

+++

++

+

++

+

+

Clarithromycin

250-500 mg PO bid

++

++

+

++

+++

+

Azithromycin

500 mg PO first day, then

250 mg/d PO for 4 days

++

++

+

++

+++

+

*+, low activity against microorganism; ++, moderate activity against microorganism; +++, good activity against microorganism

Patients who live in communities with a high incidence of resistant organisms, those who fail to respond within 48-72 hours of commencement of therapy, and those with persistence of symptoms beyond 10-14 days should be considered for second-line antibiotic therapy. The most commonly used second-line therapies include amoxicillin clavulanate, second- or third-generation cephalosporins (eg, cefuroxime, cefpodoxime, cefdinir), macrolides (ie, clarithromycin), fluoroquinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin), and clindamycin.

In patients with dental causes of sinusitis or those with foul-smelling discharge, anaerobic coverage using clindamycin or amoxicillin with metronidazole is necessary.

Table 2. Dosage, Route, and Spectrum of Activity of Commonly Used Second-Line Antibiotics* (Open Table in a new window)

Antibiotic

Dosage

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Haemophilus influenzae

Moraxella catarrhalis

Anaerobic bacteria

Sensitive

Intermediate

Resistant

Amoxicillin/clavulanate

500 mg PO tid

+++

++

+

+++

+++

+++

Cefuroxime

250-500 mg PO bid

+++

++

+

+++

++

++

Cefpodoxime

+

cefixime

200 mg PO bid

400 mg/d PO

-

++

+++

-

++

-

+

+++

+++

+++

+++

-

Ciprofloxacin

500-750 mg PO bid

++

+

+

++

+++

+

Levofloxacin

500 mg/d PO

+++

+++

+++

+++

+++

+++

Trovafloxacin

200 mg/d PO

+++

+++

+++

+++

+++

+++

Clindamycin

300 mg PO tid

+++

+++

+++

-

-

+++

Metronidazole

500 mg PO tid

-

-

-

-

-

+++

*+, low activity against microorganism; ++, moderate activity against microorganism; +++, good activity against microorganism; -, no activity against microorganism

Patients with nosocomial acute sinusitis require adequate intravenous coverage of gram-negative organisms. Aminoglycoside antibiotics are usually the drugs of choice for the treatment of such patients because of their excellent gram-negative coverage and sinus penetration. Selection of an antibiotic is usually based on the culture results of attained maxillary secretion.

In addition to surgical management, complications of acute sinusitis should be managed with a course of intravenous antibiotics. Third-generation cephalosporins (eg, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone) in combination with vancomycin provide adequate intracranial penetration, making them a good first-line choice.

Table 3. Dosage, Route, and Spectrum of Activity of Commonly Used Intravenous Antibiotics* (Open Table in a new window)

Antibiotic

Dosage

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Haemophilus influenzae

Moraxella catarrhalis

Gram-negative

Anaerobic bacteria

Piperacillin

3-4 g IV q4-6h

+++

+

-

+++

+++

Piperacillin/tazobactam

3.375 g IV q6h

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

Ticarcillin

3 g IV q4h

+++

-

-

+++

++

Ticarcillin/clavulanate

3.1 g IV q4h

+++

+++

-

+++

++

Imipenem

500 mg IV q6h

+++

+++

+++

+++

+++

Meropenem

1 g IV q8h

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

Cefuroxime

1 g IV q8h

+++

+++

+++

++

++

Ceftriaxone

2 g IV bid

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

Cefotaxime

2 g IV q4-6h

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

Ceftazidime

2 g IV q8h

+++

+++

+++

+++

++

Gentamicin

1.7 mg/kg IV q8h

-

+++

+++

++

-

Tobramycin

1.7 mg/kg IV q8h

-

+++

+++

++

-

Vancomycin

1 g IV q6-12h

+++

-

-

-

++

*+, low activity against microorganism; ++, moderate activity against microorganism; +++, good activity against microorganism; -, no activity against microorganism

Described below are recommended antibiotic regimens.

Next:

Antibiotics

Class Summary

Therapy must be comprehensive and cover all likely pathogens in the context of this clinical setting.

Amoxicillin (Trimox, Amoxil, Biomox)

First-line antibiotic. Interferes with synthesis of cell wall mucopeptides during active multiplication, resulting in bactericidal activity against susceptible bacteria.

Cefdinir (Omnicef)

Classified as a third-generation cephalosporin and inhibits mucopeptide synthesis in the bacterial cell wall. Typically bactericidal, depending on organism susceptibility, dose, and serum or tissue concentrations.

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

First-line antibiotic. Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest.

Cefuroxime (Ceftin, Kefurox, Zinacef)

Second-line PO and first-line IV antibiotic. Maintains gram-positive activity that first-generation cephalosporins have; adds activity against P mirabilis, H influenzae, E coli, K pneumoniae, and M catarrhalis.

Condition of patient, severity of infection, and susceptibility of microorganism determine proper dose and route of administration.

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

Third-generation cephalosporin with broad-spectrum, gram-negative activity; lower efficacy against gram-positive organisms; higher efficacy against resistant organisms. Arrests bacterial growth by binding to one or more penicillin binding proteins. Has good penetration.

Vancomycin (Vancocin, Lyphocin, Vancoled)

Potent antibiotic directed against gram-positive organisms and active against Enterococcus species. Useful in the treatment of septicemia and skin structure infections. Indicated for patients who cannot receive or have failed to respond to penicillins and cephalosporins or who have infections with resistant staphylococci. For abdominal penetrating injuries, it is combined with an agent active against enteric flora and/or anaerobes.

To avoid toxicity, current recommendation is to assay vancomycin trough levels after third dose drawn 0.5 h prior to next dosing. Use CrCl to adjust dose in patients diagnosed with renal impairment.

Used in conjunction with gentamicin for prophylaxis in penicillin-allergic patients undergoing gastrointestinal or genitourinary procedures. Effective for resistant S pneumoniae.

Amoxicillin/Clavulanate (Augmentin)

Drug combination treats bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics.

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