Acute sinusitis, antibiotic prescribing, guidelines adherence, outpatient settings



  1. Thapa, Anita DNP, MPH, MEd, APRN, FNP-C (Nurse Practitioner)


Background: Inappropriate antibiotic use contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance. Sinusitis is the fifth most common diagnosis responsible for antibiotic use. Appropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute sinusitis treatment is crucial to mitigate antibiotic resistance threats.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify patient and provider characteristics associated with antibiotic prescription and to assess provider adherence to antibiotic prescribing guidelines for acute sinusitis treatment.


Methodology: Retrospective chart review including acute sinusitis cases diagnosed over 12 months, at two express care clinics in the Southwestern United States. Data extraction identified 371 cases meeting inclusion criteria (age >18 years). Descriptive statistical data analyses included Chi square tests.


Results: A majority of cases received antibiotic prescriptions (90.8%, n = 337). Sociodemographic characteristics significantly associated with antibiotic prescription (p < .05) included race, ethnicity, insurance type, and smoking status. Patient-reported nature of symptoms, sinus tenderness, and erythema/edema nasal turbinates were also significantly associated with antibiotic prescription (p < .05). Antibiotic prescription and watchful waiting for acute sinusitis treatment were significantly associated with provider types (p < .05).


Conclusions: A gap exists between current guidelines and clinical practice for acute sinusitis treatment in outpatient settings. Antibiotic prescription occurred, although not indicated, along with incorrect antibiotic choice, dose, and duration of therapy.


Implications: Outpatient antimicrobial stewardship programs for acute sinusitis treatment with a focus on educational interventions for providers may reduce antibiotic overprescribing for acute sinusitis.