Topical anti-infective sinonasal irrigations: Update and literature review

Jivianne T. Lee, Alexander G. Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Sinonasal anti-infective irrigations have emerged as a promising therapeutic modality in the comprehensive management of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), particularly in the context of recalcitrant disease. The purpose of this article was to delineate the current spectrum of topical anti-infective therapies available and evaluate their role in the treatment of CRS. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed on all studies investigating the use of topical antimicrobial solutions in the medical therapy of CRS. Anti-infective irrigations were stratified into topical antibacterial, antifungal, and additive preparations according to their composition and respective microbicidal properties. Results: The use of topical antibiotic irrigations has been supported by low-level studies in the treatment of refractory CRS, with optimal results achieved in patients who have undergone prior functional endoscopic sinus surgery and received culture-directed therapy. Multiple evidence-based reviews have not established any clinical benefit with the administration of topical antifungals, and their use is not currently recommended in the management of routine CRS. Topical additives including surfactants may be beneficial as adjunctive treatment for recalcitrant CRS, but additional research is needed to investigate their efficacy in comparison with other agents and establish safety profiles. Conclusion: Topical anti-infective solutions are not recommended as first-line therapy for routine CRS but may be considered as a potential option for patients with refractory CRS who have failed traditional medical and surgical intervention. Additional research is necessary to determine which patient populations would derive the most benefit from each respective irrigation regimen and identify potential toxicities associated with prolonged use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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