How Effective Is Azithromycin for Sinusitis?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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The effectiveness of azithromycin for sinusitis is dependent upon a number of factors, most importantly the cause of the inflammation. Sinusitis, or inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, may be caused by different types of bacteria and other organisms. If susceptible bacteria are at fault, azithromycin for sinusitis can work; however, in some cases, this treatment is ineffective.

A broad-range antibiotic, health care professionals utilize azithromycin for the treatment of bacterial infections. This antibiotic, typically branded as Z-Pack or Zithromax, falls under the category of macroglides. Doctors use macroglides in the treatment of a number of conditions, including ear infections, strep throat, sinusitis, and pneumonia.

Azithromycin acts to interfere with the reproduction of bacteria, causing a halt in bacterial production that eventually leads to a cessation of infection. The mechanism for this reproductive interference is the inhibition of protein synthesis necessary for mRNA translation. In layman's terms, DNA cannot be successfully relayed, meaning reproduction cannot occur.

Health professionals classify antibiotics to better describe their characteristics and abilities. Not every antibiotic is the same, and there are many bacteria that are only able to be fought with specific antibiotic regiments. For this reason, azithromycin for sinusitis is situationally specific. The only way to be sure about how effective azithromycin for sinusitis will be is to determine if the infection is caused by a susceptible bacteria to azithromycin.


Medical technicians perform bacterial identification by obtaining cultures. A culture is a sample of present bacteria allowed to cultivate for a period of time to ease the process of identification. Once they determine the source of infection, doctors prescribe proper antibiotic intervention.

Infections can range from acute to chronic, mild to severe, and it is therefore imperative that patients consult a professional regarding treatment. Potential treatment regimens also vary greatly. A typical sinusitis treatment may involve fluid irrigation of the sinuses, corticosteroid treatment to reduce swelling, the use of antibiotics, or a combination of two or more of these.

Treatment for sinusitis should take less than two weeks, and if symptoms persist longer than this, a more chronic cause may be underlying the issue. If a chronic case of sinusitis is persistent and severe enough, doctors may also suggest surgical options to address the issue. Specialists could consider many approaches, but most options attempt to widen the sinuses in order to prevent clogging, infection, and inflammation associated with sinusitis.


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