NICE Reminder that antibiotics should not be used to treat the majority of sinus infections

NICE Guideline 79 strongly reminds us that antibiotics are very rarely needed for acute sinusitis – with a clear statement that antibiotics SHOULD NOT be offered at all in the first 10 days unless a person is systemically very unwell or at high risk of complications. A back-up prescription for antibiotics to be collected if symptoms worsen rapidly or do not improve by day 17 could be considered after day 10, but only when a bacterial cause is likely.

The guideline is supported by a really useful concise visual summary.

A related press release underlines the need to reinforce messages about appropriate treatment of sinusitis, pointing to a 2014 CPRD study which found that 91% of people diagnosed with rhinosinusitis in UK general practice received a prescription for an antibiotic.