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J Clin Epidemiol. 1997 Aug;50(8):881-90.

Antimicrobial treatment in acute maxillary sinusitis: a meta-analysis.

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Department of General Practice, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.



The aims of this study were to assess which antibiotic is most effective in the treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis in otherwise healthy adults and adolescents, and which has the fewest side effects.


To assess the short-term effects of antimicrobial treatments, a meta-analysis was performed using Mantel-Haenszel procedures on 16 comparative, randomized studies with a total number of 3358 patients. No placebo-controlled studies were available. Antimicrobial treatments were categorized according to type, spectrum, beta-lactamase inhibition, and bactericidal effect. Outcomes were clinical cure, clinical success, and adverse events.


When studies were analyzed separately, we found significant differences between cefpodoxim and cefaclor in relation to clinical cure, and between loracarbef and doxycycline in relation to clinical success. When data was pooled, sulphonamides were significantly more effective than penicillins in relation to clinical cure, and macrolids were more effective than penicillins in relation to clinical success, whereas cephalosporins caused significantly less adverse events than penicillins. When studies were stratified (standard classic meta-analysis), antibiotics with beta-lactamase inhibition offered significantly more clinical cures than antibiotics without beta-lactamase inhibition. However, this significant effect was only due to one study from Southern Europe, published before 1991.


Differences in outcome between antimicrobial treatments of acute sinusitis in otherwise healthy adults and adolescents appear to be small. Therefore, the cheapest antimicrobial treatment can be selected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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