Study: Older, Cheaper Antibiotics Effective for Sinusitis

ST. LOUIS, Ohio-A new study from Washington University in St. Louis shows cheaper antibiotics are as effective as newer, more expensive pharmaceuticals when treating uncomplicated sinusitis.

The research, to be published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 17 different antibiotics were being prescribed to sinusitis patients. These drugs were classified as either first-line (amoxicillin, co-trimoxazole, and crythomycin) or second-line (clarithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulante). First-line drugs are typically cheaper and were found to help patients 90.1% of the time. In comparison, second-line drugs, which cost on average twice as much as first-line, were effective 90.8% of the time.

The researchers concluded the difference in efficacy was so slight that patients should be aware of the financial benefits of first-line pharmaceuticals.

"Our findings suggest that doctors should keep it simple when treating adults for acute, uncomplicated sinusitis," says Jay F. Piccirillo, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology and lead author of the study.