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Drugs may be as good as surgery for chronic sinusitis

Medical treatment was found to effectively reduce lost productivity at work caused by the condition.

By
Stephen Feller
Researchers said the choice between surgery and medical therapy for chronic sinusitis should be based on patient preference. Photo by Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock
Researchers said the choice between surgery and medical therapy for chronic sinusitis should be based on patient preference. Photo by Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Nasal sprays, antibiotics and antihistamines may be as effective as surgery at correcting the issues caused by chronic sinus infections, according to a new study in Canada.

Researchers in the study said for certain cases surgery may be preferable, but patient preference should play significantly in any decision.

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Chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis, can cause difficulty breathing, postnasal drip, cough and throat clearing, yellow-green discharge, headaches, hoarseness, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, memory loss and worsening of stomach reflux disease. The condition is also the cause of lost days of work and salary according to researchers.

"Patients who have relatively minimally reduced productivity at work and minimally reduced quality of life from their underlying chronic sinusitis can avoid getting worse by continuing with medical therapy," Dr. Luke Rudmik, a clinical associate professor of endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery at the University of Calgary, told HealthDay.

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The researchers observed 38 sinusitis patients, finding among people who chose medical therapy over surgery the annual cost of lost productivity dropped by about $3,400 to $2,700 during a year of treatment. The mean amount of time lost at work dropped from five days to 2 days per year.

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Because of differences in life and work, researchers said personal preference should be considered when making the choice between surgery and medical treatment because they are both effective.

"The decisions for each treatment should involve a shared decision-making process between physician and patient after informing the patient of their expected outcomes and potential risks," he said.

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The study is published in JAMA Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

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