Around 90 per cent of patients will be given the drug, even though doctors are recommended to wait seven days as only those cases of rhinosinusitis that last that long suggest a bacterial infection.
But even this strategy is wrong, new research suggests. Researchers at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, reviewed nine studies that involved 2,547 patients with rhinosinusitis and found that virtually nobody benefited from antibiotics.
Even elderly patients, whose symptoms were more severe and whose recovery time was longer, didn't fare any better when they took the drug.
The researchers reckon that 15 patients with rhinosinusitis symptoms would have to be given antibiotics before one additional patient was cured.
(Source: The Lancet, 2008; 371: 908-14).