Sofie Wise

Dr. Umer Khan

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About Author — Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.

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Antibiotics For Sinus Infection

A sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, is more than just having trouble breathing through your nose. It’s an infection and inflammation of your sinus cavities.

While most sinus infections are viral and do not require antibiotics, when the infection lasts more than seven to ten days, it may be caused by bacteria and it’s likely you’ll need antibiotics.

An image of your sinus cavities.

Antibiotics for Sinus Infection

If your sinus infection is persistently getting worse or is accompanied by a fever over 101°F, then you need to see a doctor. Antibiotics are most likely needed.

Each antibiotic is prescribed according to your underlying biology, medical history, and relative to the bacteria detected or suspected.

Certain antibiotics for sinus infection work better in acute cases while others suit early treatment more effectively.

Commonly prescribed antibiotics for sinus infection include:

Amoxicillin (Amoxil)

Cefaclor (Ceclor)

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

Sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol)

Amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

Azithromycin (Zithromax)

Trimethoprim (Bactrim)

Which Antibiotics for Sinus Infection are Most Effective?

A leading study reflected various efficacies for each antibiotic commonly prescribed:

90%+ of Amoxicillin, Moxifloxacin & Levofloxacin treatments are effective

70%-80% of Doxycycline, Azithromycin, Erythromycin, Clarithromycin & Cefprozil treatments are effective

50-60% of Cefaclor (Ceclor) treatments are effective

80%-90% of High-Dose Amoxicillin, Cefpodoxime Proxetil, Cefixime, and Sulfamethoxazole treatments are effective

healthy sinus vs sinusitis
Clear, health sinuses vs congested and infected sinuses. Book an appointment for sinusitis treatment, here.

Acute Sinus Antibiotics

A study involving 13,660 participants evaluated the efficacy of various sinusitis antibiotics in the treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis.

Both penicillin-based drugs and non-penicillin antibiotics are equally effective in treating acute sinus infections.

The only drawback to non-penicillin’s, like cephalosporin antibiotics, is that more adverse effects were experienced which caused patients to drop out of treatment.

The study concluded the most effective treatment for acute maxillary sinusitis is penicillin or amoxicillin for a period of seven to fourteen days. It is the best sinusitis antibiotic and should be the first line of treatment for anyone who is not allergic.

High Dose Treatment of Sinusitis

Acute treatments typically involve a high dose of 500mg of Amoxicillin once a day for just three days.

Any bacterial infection which has no underlying complications will clear up almost instantly, leaving you feeling better within three to four days of starting antibiotic treatment.

It is important to understand that despite feeling better as soon as you begin taking antibiotics, the whole course should be completed as prescribed by the doctor.

This is because there is a possibility that you are not fully recovered and some bacteria remain in the sinuses, which could lead to antibiotic resistance.

To get antibiotics for sinus infection online book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor and have your prescription electronically sent to the pharmacy of your choice, in minutes.

Read More About Antibiotics for Sinus Infection


WebMD. (2014). Picture of the Sinuses.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. (2015). Clinical practice guideline (update): adult sinusitis.

Medicine Net. (nd). Deviated Septum

Healthline. (2017). Septoplasty.

Mayo Clinic. (2019). Nasal Polyps.

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