The tissue lining the sinuses sometimes becomes inflamed. In some cases, this swelling will only be a temporary distraction. If this tissue inflammation continues to be a problem, sinusitis may require some type of treatment to provide relief. The treatment that’s recommended if you’ve reached a point where the condition is chronic (lasting 3-6 months or more) will depend on your symptoms and the results of a thorough examination of your nasal cavities.
Medications to Treat Sinusitis
Treatment of chronic sinusitis will also depend on your response to various medications commonly prescribed to manage the inflammation of the tissue that lines your sinuses. Medication is typically the first treatment recommended to manage chronic sinusitis. You may benefit from the use of both over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Readily available over-the-counter (OTC) medications may be effective in situations where sinusitis symptoms aren’t severe. OTC medications that may provide relief from your symptoms include:
- Decongestants that are available as tablets or sprays
- Guaifenesin, a mucus thinning agent
- Saline rinses or sprays
Decongestant nasal sprays shouldn’t be used as a source of long-term relief from sinusitis. Use should be limited to no more than 2-3 days to reduce the risk of rebound congestion that sometimes occurs with prolonged use.
Prescription Sinusitis Medications
If over-the-counter medications aren’t providing sufficient relief from sinusitis, you may benefit from prescription sinusitis medications. The specific medication recommended will depend on the severity and nature of your symptoms. Commonly prescribed medications for sinusitis include:
- Nasal steroid sprays
- Prednisone, medrol dosepak, and other oral steroids that may help manage inflammation
Sinusitis and Quality of Life
The condition can reach a point where it is more than just a minor distraction. If sinusitis has reached a point where symptoms are frequent, your overall quality of life may be affected. In fact, studies have shown that persistent sinusitis can significantly reduce an individual’s quality of life. The impact is similar to what people with other chronic conditions such as chronic back pain, chest pain (angina), and lung disease often experience.
Luckily, patients are often able to enjoy a noticeable improvement in their quality of life once they have received the appropriate treatment for the condition. For this reason, patients with sinus issues are encouraged to commit to their treatment plan to control bothersome symptoms.
Surgery for Sinusitis
If OTC and prescription medications aren’t providing meaningful relief from sinusitis, surgery may be recommended. Even if surgery is necessary, patients are typically encouraged to continue medical therapy.
It’s important to seek treatment if sinusitis has reached a point where it has become chronic to prevent damage to the affected tissues. The treatment of chronic sinusitis is similar to chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure in the sense that stopping medication just because you feel better may result in a recurrence of symptoms. You will receive further guidance on how to proceed with your recommended treatments.