Swelling and inflammation commonly associated with chronic rhinosinusitis can be reduced with a nasal spray containing amphotericin B, an older medication used to reduce fungus, according a recent report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Researchers studied 30 patients over 6 months and found that, compared to an inactive placebo, treatment with amphotericin B reduced mucous swelling significantly, determined by computed tomography (CT) scans. Previous studies have shown that amphotericin B can cause harmful side effects to the kidneys, but when it is administered as a nasal spray, the drug is not absorbed and harmful side effects are avoided. According to study author Dr. Jens U. Ponikau from the Mayo Clinic, fungi are a big part of chronic rhinosinusitis.They cause certain immune cells to appear in the mucous layer of the nose, where they then release toxic compounds that damage not only the fungi but the nasal tissue as well. However, the theory that fungi are involved directly in chronic rhinosinusitis has been disputed, and researchers have yet to discover why only certain people develop this condition. Larger studies will begin later this year.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.