Sinusitis/Sinus Infection Medical Treatment

The St. Louis Sinus Center tailors treatments to each individual depending on their symptoms and diagnosis. In some cases, multiple medications are used together. These medications may be taken for brief periods of time, a few weeks or a longer time. The medications are designed to treat the symptoms and/or clear away infection.

Common Treatments

Saline Sprays/Salt Water Irrigations – Using an over the counter mild saline spray or irrigation system regularly will cleanse and moisten the sinuses. This can cut down on infections.

Pain Relievers – Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Motrin are useful to help with headaches and facial pain associated with sinusitis.

Mucus Thinning Agent – Guaifenesin is our preferred mucous thinning agent. Guaifenesin acts by making mucus more watery so its easier to clear from your nose and sinuses. When using Guaifenesin it is very important to drink plenty of water.

Decongestants – Available as either a nasal spray or pill. We do not recommend nasal decongestant sprays as they are addicting and have a high potential for rebound congestion if used for more than 3 days. The only oral decongestant available is pseudoephedrine. It acts by reducing blood flow to the nose, which shrinks the membranes in the nose. Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant and there are several drawbacks to its use such as it can raise blood pressure, make you jittery, anxious, and interfere with sleep.

Antihistamines – Sinus patients with allergies may benefit from the use of antihistamines. They help reduce congestion, itching, sneezing, and the runny nose associated with allergies. They are available as either a prescription or over the counter and come in pill form or as a nasal spray.

Antibiotics – You may be prescribed antibiotics if it is determined that you have an acute, chronic, or recurrent sinus infection. The amount and duration will depend on your specific problem.

Steroids – If you have a significant amount of nasal inflammation you may be prescribed an oral or nasal steroid (often in combination with an antibiotic) to help decrease the inflammation. Steroids do not cure sinus problems but will help bring them under control. They may be prescribed as pills (prednisone) or as a nasal spray (fluticasone).

Learn about procedural options for sinusitis »

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