Mayo Clinic researchers have made great strides in recent years regarding sinusitis treatment and have come up with a new therapy for chronic sufferers called topical antifungal therapy. This particular sinusitis treatment is still new and is not widely practiced. This author, a sinusitis sufferer of long standing with two painful operations under his belt, has been in contact with one of the Mayo Clinic research physicians. I was pointed to several papers and articles describing the research completed thus far, the theory behind the research, and the resulting therapy.
In simple and general terms, the Mayo Clinic research showed that some people (i.e., chronic sinusitis sufferers), have a harmful immune reaction to fungi that others do not experience. The research demonstrated that fungi are present in the air and show up in the nasal mucus of just about everyone. In the noses of chronic sinus sufferers, it showed that certain types of white blood cells will attack the fungi that are present. In doing so these cells create a compound that damages nasal membranes. Once damaged, bacteria can easily enter and cause pain, inflammation and infection. Conventional sinusitis treatment often includes antibiotics to attack the bacteria. This new sinusitis treatment aims to attack the fungi instead, thus avoiding the nasal membrane damage in the first place. One drawback is that it is not easy to determine if a patient is someone whose white blood cells attack fungi in the nose or not. It is also not known why this white blood cell reaction occurs in some people and not in others.
Antifungals such as Amphotericin B and Itraconazole are used in this sinusitis treatment regimen. These have already been approved by the FDA for other uses, and they can be mixed by a compounding pharmacy such as Anazao to make the topical solution needed for this new therapy. Amphotericin B, for example, was only available in my local pharmacy as an injection medication. The pharmacist was not aware that it is sometimes reformulated as a topical spray for sinusitis treatment. Patients spray the antifungal into their nostrils daily. About 75% of the chronic sinus sufferers in one of the Mayo Clinic studies saw significant improvement in their conditions following this regimen.
I also contacted Accentia, the biopharmaceutical company who has obtained a license from the Mayo Foundation to produce and market medications based on the Mayo Clinic research. They informed me that they plan to market a product based on Amphotericin B, which will have the brand name SinuNase. They will start clinical trials soon, and I submitted my name as a possible participant. Apparently I would be a good candidate since I've had sinus surgeries that didn't cure my problems.
Topical antifungal therapy is a new form of sinusitis treatment. It takes time for a new approach to become accepted in the medical community at large. I asked the Mayo research physician if he knew of a colleague in the Denver area, where I reside, who was utilizing this approach. He responded that he didn't know anyone there, but gave me two names of physicians in Texas, which I also asked about. So it is obvious that this approach to sinusitis treatment is not yet mainstream therapy, but it does have momentum. For people who have received sinusitis treatment which has not improved their suffering, more details regarding this and other sinus related subjects can be found at the web site in the resource box for this article.