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Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis Through IV Antibiotics – FAQ

Q. I have heard about something called IV antibiotics as a treatment for sinusitis? Can you explain more about it?

A.Chronic sinusitis infections are commonly known to be of a polymicrobial nature. Often there are two or even more bacteria involved. A single oral agent usually does not have the capability of covering all the organisms involved in chronic sinusitis. We use ‘broad spectrum’ antibiotics, but no antibiotic can cover all the possible types of bacteria. In addition oral agents may fail due to less than optimal concentration of medications that can be achieved in the bloodstream to affect the local infection site. This mainly happens because of decreased absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Decreased absorption can occur because of the co-administration of other oral agents, interaction with certain foods and illness. The reduced concentration of medicine via oral agents has difficulty attacking the infection, especially when the infection also affects the bone surrounding the sinus cavities.

Intravenous antibiotics can overcome many of the drawbacks involving oral agents. The concentration of antibiotic in many cases is more stable. The antibiotic is not affected by variables in the gastrointestinal tract because it bypasses and directly enters the bloodstream. Absorption problems are minimized. Since some of the infection is in the surrounding bone a higher concentration of medicine is necessary. Intravenous induction will increase the concentration and can be sustained over longer periods of time. The use of multiple antibiotics at the same time helps to insure a broader spectrum of action, thus attacking many forms of bacterial infections simultaneously. With the wide range of intravenous medications available it is easier to select the correct combination without worrying about stomach upset problems.

There is a certain population of patients who will find major relief and possibly a cure to chronic sinusitis through the administration of antibiotics via intravenous methods. Other patients still needing surgery will find that IV antibiotics will greatly reduce the inflammation in the sinuses. This will allow the surgeon cleaner access to perform his tasks. Post surgical recovery has proven easier on these patients. One nice thing is that you only get stuck once. The ‘catheter’ is left in to be used as the pathway for the medication.

Should you get intravenous antibiotic treatment? Ask your doctor. In conclusion, I feel that the use of IV antibiotics is a necessary step in the goal of managing the long-term effects of chronic sinusitis.