Corticosteroids not effective for treating acute sinusitis

August 7, 2012

Corticosteroids, frequently prescribed to alleviate acute sinusitis, show no clinical benefit in treating the condition, according to a randomized controlled trial published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The common cold is the main cause of acute sinusitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the , blocked nasal passages and sometimes headaches and facial pain. Allergies and bacteria can also cause the condition, which is uncomfortable and difficult to treat. Antibiotics are a common treatment, despite the fact that the cause is often viral and will not respond to antibiotics. Corticosteroids are increasingly being used to alleviate symptoms, although the evidence for efficacy is inconclusive.

To determine the effectiveness of on acute rhinosinusitis (sinusitis), researchers from the Netherlands conducted a randomized, double-blind controlled trial involving 174 adults with clinically diagnosed acute rhinosinusitis. Eighty-eight patients were randomized to a group that received 30 mg/d of prednisolone for a week and the remaining 86 received placebo. In the prednisolone group, 55 of 88 patients (62.5%) reported that their facial pain or pressure had resolved by day 7, versus 48 of 86 (55.8%) in the . Although there was a slight reduction of facial pain in the prednisolone group, the results were neither statistically nor clinically significant. Moreover, other patient-relevant outcomes revealed similar results.

"We found no clinically relevant effect of systemic corticosteroid monotherapy among patients with clinically diagnosed, uncomplicated acute rhinosinusitis," writes Dr. Roderick Venekamp, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands, with coauthors.

"There is no rationale for the use of corticosteroids in the broad population of patients with clinically diagnosed acute rhinosinusitis," write the authors. "Future studies should focus on identifying subgroups of patients who may benefit from intranasal or systemic corticosteroid treatment."

Explore further: Research examines effect of prednisolone in patients with Bell palsy

More information:

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.