Prescription Medications for Chronic Sinusitis

If symptoms of chronic sinusitis do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, your doctor may prescribe medication to better manage the condition.


Corticosteroids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce swelling in the tissue that lines nasal passages and sinuses, making breathing easier. The anti-inflammatory effects of steroid treatment may also reduce the size of nasal polyps. Steroids can be taken by mouth or applied as a nasal spray.

Leukotriene Inhibitors

Leukotriene inhibitors—such as the medication Singulair®—can help people who have chronic sinusitis due to allergies by targeting chemicals produced by the body called leukotrienes. These chemicals are triggered by an allergic reaction and cause inflammation in soft tissues, leading to symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose and postnasal drip. Leukotriene inhibitors may also reduce inflammation in nasal polyps, making them smaller.


Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat an infection of the sinuses. Antibiotics fight infection caused by bacteria and can reduce swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages, making breathing easier and eliminating facial pain and pressure. Antibiotics can be very effective in getting rid of the infection, but they can also cause side effects. For this reason, doctors at NYU Langone prescribe them with caution. A typical course of antibiotics prescribed to treat chronic sinusitis lasts less than three weeks.

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