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Arch Fam Med. 1998 Jan-Feb;7(1):39-43.

A clinical trial of hypertonic saline nasal spray in subjects with the common cold or rhinosinusitis.

Author information

  • 1Riverside University Family Practice Clinic, University of Minnesota Department of Family Practice and Community Health, Minneapolis 55406, USA. padam@famprac.umn.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether hypertonic saline nasal spray relieves nasal symptoms and shortens illness duration in patients with the common cold or acute rhinosinusitis.

DESIGN:

Randomized trial with 2 control groups.

SETTING:

Two family practice clinics.

PARTICIPANTS:

One hundred forty-three adult patients with a cold or sinus infection. Patients with allergic rhinitis, symptoms for more than 3 weeks, or other respiratory diagnoses were excluded, as were those who had used topical decongestants.

INTERVENTION:

Hypertonic saline or normal saline spray 3 times a day or observation. Subjects completed a 7-day symptom checklist that included a well-being question ("Do you feel back to normal?").

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Nasal symptom score (sum of scores for nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, and headache) on day 3 and day of well-being (day of symptom resolution).

RESULTS:

Data were collected for 119 subjects. No difference was found in either primary outcome when hypertonic saline was compared with either normal saline or observation. Mean day of well-being was 8.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.9-9.7), 9.2 (95% CI, 6.9-11.43), and 8.0 (95% CI, 6.7-9.3) days in the hypertonic saline, normal saline, and observation groups, respectively. Day 3 mean nasal symptom score was 3.8 (95% CI, 3.0-4.5) for hypertonic saline, 3.7 (95% CI, 2.9-4.5) for normal saline, and 4.1 (95% CI, 3.5-4.7) for observation. Only 44% of the patients would use the hypertonic saline spray again. Thirty-two percent noted burning, compared with 13% of the normal saline group (P = .05).

CONCLUSION:

Hypertonic saline does not improve nasal symptoms or illness duration in patients with the common cold or rhinosinusitis.

PMID:
9443697
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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