A new study shows treatment with long-term low-dose azithromycin in combination with the conventional therapy can reduce the recurrence rate of chronic sinusitis symptoms after functional endoscopic sinus surgery, but there was no sufficient evidence to support clinical significance of azithromycin at the investigated dose.

The aim of clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of long–term consumption of low–dose azithromycin after a successful endoscopic sinus surgery.

Chronic sinusitis is recognized as a common disease that imposes a huge burden on the healthcare system worldwide. About 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of sinusitis each year. Besides the burden on the healthcare system, there is a huge burden on the individual due to missed workdays and reduced productivity that the condition causes. This study is needed because when it comes to conventional therapies, other less invasive surgeries should be considered such as balloon sinuplasty.

Method of Research

Sixty-six patients were randomly divided into intervention and control groups. The subjects received the standard conventional treatment (fluticasone nasal spray plus normal saline solution irrigation) or the conventional treatment plus 250 mg of azithromycin on a daily basis for 3 months. Evaluation was made based on the 22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) immediately before surgery and 3 months after surgery.

Results

The intervention group showed a significant improvement in SNOT-22 scores after the treatment and a higher percentage change after 3 months of therapy compared to the control group. Also the researchers found a significant correlation between the percentage change of SNOT-22 scores and smoking in the placebo group.

Conclusion in relation to chronic sinusitis

Treatment with long-term low-dose azithromycin in combination with the conventional therapy could statistically reduce the recurrence rate of chronic sinusitis symptoms after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, more evidence is needed to support clinically significant conclusion of azithromycin at the investigated dose. Thus a larger scale trial and a longer follow-up period are warranted to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy.