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March 20, 2002

First-line vs Second-line Antibiotics for Treatment of Sinusitis

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(11):1395-1396. doi:10.1001/jama.287.11.1395

To the Editor: Dr Piccirillo and colleagues1 found that second-line antibiotics were no more effective than first-line antibiotics in the treatment of acute rhinosinusitis, although they were associated with significantly higher costs. However, we believe that these conclusions are not justified due to inadequate study design.

First, this was a retrospective study of adults in a proprietary database with a diagnosis code of acute rhinosinusitis and a concurrent prescription for antibiotics. No diagnostic standard or chart review was used.2,3 Other studies of similar unselected patient populations have shown that 50% or more of patients with a presumed diagnosis of bacterial sinusitis actually have a viral infection and should not be treated with antibiotics.

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