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Duration of Antibiotics Often Exceeds Guidelines for Sinusitis

More than 90 percent of non-azithromycin antibiotic courses were 10 days or longer for acute sinusitis

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THURSDAY, March 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The durations of most courses of antibiotic therapy for adult outpatients with sinusitis exceed guideline recommendations, according to a research letter published online March 26 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Laura M. King, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues describe the duration of antibiotic therapy for acute sinusitis in adult outpatients. Visits to physicians at which antibiotics were prescribed for sinusitis diagnoses were identified in the 2016 National Disease and Therapeutic Index. Antibiotics were categorized as penicillins, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, azithromycin, or other. An estimated 3,696,976 visits at which antibiotic therapy was prescribed for sinusitis were included.

The researchers found that the median duration of therapy was 10.0 days; most therapies (69.6 percent) were prescribed for 10 days or more. Excluding azithromycin prescriptions, 91.5, 7.6, and 0.5 percent of prescriptions were 10 days or more, seven days, and five days, respectively.

"More than two-thirds of antibiotic courses and 91 percent of non-azithromycin antibiotic courses prescribed for the treatment of acute sinusitis in adults were 10 days or longer, even though the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends five to seven days of therapy for uncomplicated cases," the authors write.

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