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Sinus Infection Antibiotics

Sinus Infection Antibiotics

Amoxicillin, cotrim and azithromycin are some of the common antibiotics prescribed to treat sinus infection. To know more about antibiotics and why, in few cases, sinus problems won't heal with antibiotic dosage, read on...
Nicks J
Points to Remember
Before taking antibiotics, make sure that the infection is due to bacteria as most cases of sinus trouble occur from viruses.

The term sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, indicates that the 3 pairs of sinuses located in the facial area are swollen. The facial bones contain hollow spaces known as sinuses, which produce mucus that block dirt particles from entering into the lungs while breathing. Inflamed sinuses are often associated with respiratory tract infection, which causes difficulty in breathing. In case, bacteria are the culprits behind the inflammation of the sinuses, use of antibiotics is a must to get rid of the sinus infection.
Antibiotics for Sinus Trouble
Amoxicillin
Also known as amoxil, this antibiotic is usually the first choice for sinus infection treatment, as it has proven to be very effective to alleviate symptoms of sinus infections. Amoxicillin is a member of the penicillin group of antibiotics and has proved to be lethal against different strains of bacteria, including E.coli and H.influenza. The cells of each and every bacterium is surrounded by a cell wall. Amoxicillin works by destroying the cell wall, which helps to get rid of the infection. This is because bacteria cannot survive without the cell wall and so its destruction certainly assists to cure the infection.
Cotrim
There are patients who simply cannot tolerate intake of antibiotics that belong to the penicillin family. For such patients, use of amoxicillin can be worrisome, and hence, as an alternative, Cotrim, is recommended. This antibiotic is made by combining the power of two antibiotics: trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole. Like humans, bacteria also requires folic acid (a type of B vitamin) for survival. Bacteria not only derive it from external sources, but also manufacture it internally, without which they cannot exist. Cotrim impairs the ability of bacteria to produce folic acid. This helps to eliminate the bacteria and cure the infection.
Cefuroxime
Popularly referred to as ceftin, this medication is recommended for severe forms of sinus infections. Acute sinusitis, where the symptoms appear suddenly and are severe, usually require strong antibiotics like ceftin. This antibiotic is prescribed when patients do not respond to amoxicillin dosage. It belongs to the class of Cephalosporins, that destroys the structure of bacterial cell wall, which eventually kills the bacteria.
Azithromycin
Also known as Zithromax, this antibiotic belongs to the macrolides family. Bacterial sinusitis as well as infections of the respiratory tract can also be treated with Zithromax. To stop bacterial growth and prevent the infection from getting worse is the main intention behind giving azithromycin. As we all know, the bacteria produce proteins, which is essential for their survival and growth. However, azithromycin does not allow the bacteria to produce proteins. This considerably weakens the bacteria, which helps the body to manage this infection effectively. Also, the immune system finds it a lot easier to manage weakened bacteria, which are eventually eliminated.
Moxifloxacin
A member of the class of fluroquinolones, moxifloxacin (Avelox) is a new addition to the list of sinus infection antibiotics. It is observed that bacteria multiply through DNA replication. Also bacteria mutate themselves, which makes them resistant to certain antibiotics. To stop these bacterial activities that can cause serious complications, Avelox is always recommended. It potent antibacterial activity is useful to get rid of even stubborn sinus infections. Patients with severe chronic sinusitis may find a considerable amount of relief from Avelox dosage.
Dosage
Usually, sinus patients are advised to have a 500 mg antibiotic tablet, either once or thrice a day depending upon the severity of infection. However, for stronger antibiotics like cefuroxime, the dose starts from 250 mg, twice a day for a stipulated period of time.
There have been complaints about antibiotics dosage not working to relieve sinus infection symptoms. This can mean that the sinus problem is due to a viral infection and one may have to consider other treatment options for sinusitis resulting from virus attack. Also, the medicines don't work in case of prolonged use of antibiotics, which is common among chronic sinusitis patients. Prolonged use of the antibiotics makes the bacteria resistant to medications, and as a result, the infection no longer responds to the antibiotics.
It is observed that sinusitis in a large percentage of cases is due to viral infections. Hence, in such a scenario, usage of antibiotics would serve no purpose. The problem is that there is no simple test that allows doctors to establish the underlying cause of sinusitis. Although the color of mucus (colorless mucus is pointing towards non-bacterial infection) may help to speculate the nature of infection, it is no diagnostic tool. It is also not easy to obtain a microbial culture from the swollen sinuses to check for the type of infection and requires use of invasive procedures like nasal endoscopy.
Caution
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that the antibiotics for bacterial sinusitis are no better than a placebo. Also, using these medicines to treat recurring episodes of sinus infection can also make the bacteria immune to the effects of antibiotics. So, the best approach to treat sinus infection is to wait and watch and not consult a doctor at the earliest. Sinusitis symptoms usually subside substantially in a week or two.
Diagnostic Tests
In case you notice that the symptoms are not improving, contact a doctor and he may suggest you to undergo nasal endoscopy and other tests such as bacterial culture and allergy tests in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
A point to note here is that the antibiotics mentioned above are categorized as prescription medications and are not available over the counter. The doctor examines the patient and after evaluating the severity of the infection decides the antibiotic dosage and the duration of treatment necessary to cure the patient. Buying these antibiotics without a doctor's prescription is not recommended. These medicines have their own drawbacks, which manifest in the form of side effects. So, before using these sinus infection remedies one should first consult a doctor.
Duration of Treatment
How long the patient will have to take antibiotics depends upon how severe is the sinusitis trouble. Usually, the duration of an antibiotic course lasts around 5-14 days but can extend up to 21 days. Antibiotics taken in the right dosage are likely to improve sinusitis within a week's time, but that shouldn't deter the patient from completing the prescribed duration of antibiotic therapy. Discontinuing the medicine abruptly will definitely make the patient susceptible to recurring attacks of sinusitis.