REVIEW
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Decongestants, antihistamines and nasal irrigation for acute sinusitis in children.

BACKGROUND: The efficacy of decongestants, antihistamines and nasal irrigation in children with clinically diagnosed acute sinusitis has not been systematically evaluated.

OBJECTIVES: To systematically review the efficacy of decongestants, antihistamines and nasal irrigation in children with clinically diagnosed acute sinusitis. We considered the following four interventions: 1) decongestants versus placebo or no medication, 2) antihistamines versus placebo or no medication, 3) decongestant and antihistamine combination versus placebo or no medication, 4) nasal irrigation versus no irrigation. The primary outcomes of the review were symptom resolution (improvement in symptom score from enrolment to day five and overall symptom burden (as measured by average symptom scores while on therapy).

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2012, Issue 1), which includes the Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialized Register, MEDLINE (1950 to January week 3, 2012) and EMBASE (1950 to January 2012).

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs which evaluated children less than 18 years of age with acute sinusitis, defined as 10 to 30 days of rhinorrhea, congestion or daytime cough. We excluded trials of children with chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed each study for inclusion.

MAIN RESULTS: Of the 526 studies found through the electronic searches and handsearching, none met all the inclusion criteria.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence to determine whether the use of antihistamines, decongestants or nasal irrigation is efficacious in children with acute sinusitis. Further research is needed to determine whether these interventions are beneficial in the treatment of children with acute sinusitis.

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