Welcome Guidelines for Managing Rhinosinusitis

Recent estimates suggest that the direct annual costs of sinusitis are approximately $5.8 billion in the United States, and nearly one in seven Americans is diagnosed with a sinus infection every year. Rhinosinusitis is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical help. It ranks among the top five reasons for antibiotic prescriptions for adults. However, 90% to 98% of patients presenting with symptoms of sinusitis have viral causes and will not benefit from antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics among this population has contributed largely to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. The Need for Guidance “Clinicians need clear guidance on how to treat patients with rhinosinusitis and on how to differentiate viral from bacterial infections,” says Thomas M. File, Jr., MD. In the April 15, 2012 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Dr. File coauthored guidelines from the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) on acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in children and adults. “Reasonable criteria are needed for making decisions on when it’s appropriate to prescribe antibiotics in rhinosinusitis,” he says. “We also wanted to provide an update on the information available on the bacteria that are causing bacterial sinusitis as a result of emerging resistance [Table 1].” With no simple test to quickly determine whether an infection is viral or bacterial, many physicians prescribe antibiotics to play it safe. According to Dr. File, this practice has led patients to expect to receive antibiotics when they have an infection. “If they aren’t prescribed one, they may be dissatisfied with the patient–physician interaction,” he adds. “Patients and physicians both need to be educated that using antibiotics when they’re unwarranted will provide...