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Sinusitis Treatments and Drugs

February 18, 2014

The main objective of sinusitis treatment is to minimize the inflammation in the sinus opening and nose to enhance drainage. A number of medical treatments may be needed to achieve this. Your doctor will treat an infection, and lessen the symptoms of a congested or runny nose. The treatment of chronic sinusitis is different compared to acute sinusitis treatment although they may use the same medications. Some of the effective treatments include:

Nasal wash – A saline or saltwater nasal wash cleans out bacteria and mucus from the sinuses and nose. It can relieve symptoms of postnasal drip and nasal congestion temporarily.  A nasal wash also aids in washing out environmental triggers from your nasal lining. Using a nasal wash prior to the use of a medicated nasal spray provides for a much more effective treatment.

Steroid nasal spray – Your doctor may prescribe a prescription steroid nasal spray for the control of your mucus production and nasal inflammation.  This type of nasal spray can help better sinus drainage and lessen nasal congestion symptoms. It does not, however, bring prompt symptom relief and can entail a number of weeks of regular use to have some effect.  For chronic sinusitis, this spray can have a beneficial effect with daily use; a person suffering from occasional episodes of sinusitis need to use this spray on an occasional basis.  For sinus and nasal problems a combination of nasal steroid sprays and nasal wash can be very potent for a lot of patients suffering from sinus and nasal problems. Some steroid nasal sprays include:

Beclomethasone – Qnasi
Ciclesonide – Zetonna
Budesonide – Rhinocort
Mometasone – Nasonex
Flunisolide – Nasarel
Triamcinolone – Nasacort , Nasacort AQ

Some side effects of these drugs can include bleeding and nasal dryness

Antibiotics – These medications control bacterial infections and are quite popular since many cases of sinusitis result from bacterial infection.  In using antibiotics, you may need to finish the treatment course which may take a whole week to up to three weeks or even longer.  The type of antibiotic you use often depends on your symptoms, past use of antibiotics and drug allergies.

Many bouts of sinusitis (from upper respiratory infection) can be effectively addressed without the utilization of antibiotics by treatments that target the specific symptoms and the nasal inflammation. Wrong antibiotics use can result in side effects and bacterial resistance, hence, these drugs should be used thoughtfully and carefully.

Decongestants – Decongestants are offered as nasal sprays, syrup or tablet and help unblock the sinus openings and temporarily minimize nasal congestion symptoms. Popular over-the-counter decongestants include pseudoephedrine or Dimetapp and Sudafed.  Combining antihistamine/ decongestant drugs produces optimal benefits. Topical nasal decongestant sprays help in the prompt reduction of swollen nasal tissue. They need to be utilized for just 2 to 3 days since frequent use can result in the return of nasal congestion but with more severe symptoms. Systemic decongestants also help minimize the swelling of the lining of the nose and helping improve sinus drainage function. Systemic decongestants can easily cause side effects some of which include nervousness, prostate problems in men, sleeplessness, anxiety and high blood pressure.

Antihistamines – These are drugs to neutralize the effects of histamine, a chemical appearing in the body during allergic reactions. Antihistamines are offered in syrup, tablet or spray form and can effectively lessen the allergic symptoms of itchy nose and eyes and sneezing as well as minimize mucus production and nasal stuffiness. Some over-the-counter antihistamines include:

Diphenhydramine – Benadryl
Chlorpheniramine – Chlor-Trimeton
Loratadine – Claritin

Newer kinds of prescription antihistamines have no drowsy side effects. Some of them are:

Cetirizine – Zyrtec
Fexofenadine – Allergra
Desloratadine – Clarinex

Some nasal spray antihistamines are:

Olopatadine – Patanase
Azelastine – Astepro

Leukotriene modifiers – These drugs fight the leukotrienes that cause inflammation in the skin, eyes, lungs, sinuses and nose.  Leukotriene modifiers are medicines that can help reduce nasal and sinus inflammation and can be a good product if you have aspirin sensitivity and nasal polyps. They can be combined with antihistamines and nasal sprays.  Leukotriene modifiers include:

Zileutron – Zyflo, Zyflo CR
Montelukast – Singulair

Liver enzymes may increase when you use Zyflo and Zyflo CR.

Pain relievers – For acute sinusitis analgesic or pain relievers can address fever and pain symptoms. Ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen are some OTC analgesics. Doctors may prescribe also stronger analgesics.

Systemic steroids – These types of steroids are occasionally used to treat extreme sinus and nasal inflammation like nasal polyps. Systemic steroids are available in syrup, pill or as an injectable injected into a vein or a muscle. These drugs are quite potent that help address sinus and nasal conditions. They also have a lot of side effects including menstrual irregularities, vision change, osteoporosis, stomach irritation, mood changes, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and cataract formation. When used long-term the side effects of these drugs become more dangerous and so systemic steroids are often prescribed as a pill in slowly decreasing dosages until the drug is entirely stopped.

Acupuncture – You can get relief from your symptoms using acupuncture treatment. This oriental medical procedure uses hair-thin needles inserted at certain points in the body to rectify energy or chi imbalances in the body. Chi is the vital energy in the body that is as important as blood and the slow or impeded flow of this energy causes imbalances that result in pain and disease. Acupuncture points are determined by your diagnosis. Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) sees a connection between the lungs and the nose and chi deficiency in the lung is often seen as one culprit causing the sinusitis – the other culprit is an external factor like the common cold.

When your acupuncturist has successfully diagnosed your condition, he then uses specific acupuncture points to treat the symptoms. Chi and blood are delivered to body region to address the discomfort and pain. Acupuncture eases the patient by removing sinus pressure and blockage for better sinus drainage. The truth is that the more blocked sinus opening is released the more relief a patient gets.

Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503-281-0030