Having healthy levels of bacteria in the gut keep the immune system ready for a fight. 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, so when taking oral antibiotics a significant shift in protection can occur.
This is leading to what we will continue to see increase in studies on using antibiotics for sinusitis: A number needed to harm. When studies are done on potentially beneficial medications or treatments, a number needed to treat (NNT) is calculated. This basically says how many people need to get the therapy for one person to benefit. In a large study that reviewed 32 studies that used antibiotics to treat sinus infections, the NNT was 15. That means that for everyone that gets an antibiotic for sinusitis, only one person benefits!!!!! Since that study a year and half ago, I have only seen antibiotic prescriptions go up at a ridiculous rate. But they also calculate a NNH, or number needed to harm that shows that one person is harmed by the antibiotics for every 30-some prescriptions written.
The healthcare profession needs to stop practicing customer service and handing out antibiotics to anyone that calls in, and practice medicine by educating patients on the unnecessary use of antibiotics or we will see the NNH get lower than the NNT!
Dr. Jeffrey Gladd graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001. He then went on to train in family medicine...View Full Bio »