[The role of antibiotics in acute sinusitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis]

An Pediatr (Barc). 2011 Mar;74(3):154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2010.10.011. Epub 2011 Jan 14.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: The aim of this systematic review is to assess whether antibacterial agents are more effective than either placebo or no intervention at all in the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis.

Patients and methods: We reviewed the databases and search engines: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Google Scholar to identify randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in children comparing antibiotics versus placebo. Sinusitis was considered as the persistence of clinically compatible symptoms for at least 10 days. The methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad scale. Four RCTs were selected. We studied the following variables: cure, clinical improvement (on days 10 to 14), relapse-recurrence (from day 14 to day 60) and presence of adverse effects. The results were combined using meta-analysis. We used the fixed effects model or random model depending on whether or not there was heterogeneity. We estimated the combined relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval.

Results: Only two RCTs had a Jadad scale score ≥3. Variable cure-improvement (4 RCTs): RR 1.11 (95% CI: 0.9 to 1.3). Variable relapse-recurrence (3 RCTs): RR 0.9 (95% CI: 0.6 to 1.5). Adverse effects (4 RCTs): 2.01 (95% CI 1.1 to 3.8).

Conclusions: In children with acute sinusitis, antibacterial agents at the studied doses did not appear to provide benefit in terms of cure and improvement, assessed at 10 to 14 days of follow up. Similarly, the percentage of relapse-recurrence was not lower among children who received antibiotics. Antibiotics are associated more frequently with adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents