Skip to main content area

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.