a woman holds her nose in pain
Category: Health Magazine, Winter 2023

Title:On the nose

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has awarded a Georgetown University Medical Center research team $23.6 million in research funding to study treatments for acute rhinosinusitis. The study is led by Dan Merenstein, M.D., professor of family medicine at Georgetown’s School of Medicine and professor of human science at the School of Health.

Every year in the U.S., one in seven adults is diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis, an inflammation of the nose and sinus passages. One in five adults are prescribed antibiotics, though nasal sprays such as intranasal corticosteroids (INCS), over-the-counter supportive treatment, or saline nasal irrigation (SNI) may also help improve symptoms.

“Acute rhinosinusitis leaves people feeling miserable and desperate for relief, and their care providers eager to help,” says Merenstein, director of research programs for Georgetown’s Department of Family Medicine. “Unfortunately, in the absence of clinically proven treatments, providers often prescribe antibiotics. We want to know if there’s a better way to treat patients and alleviate symptoms more quickly, while also figuring out who really benefits from antibiotics.”

Nawar M. Shara, Ph.D., director of biostatistics, informatics and data science at MedStar Health Research Institute and associate professor, is co investigator for the study. The research collaboration also involves the University of Washington, UCLA, Virginia Commonwealth University, Penn State, and University of Wisconsin.

Together, the investigators will recruit more than 3,700 people diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis for the largest clinical trial of its kind. The randomized clinical trial will compare outcomes among treatments with antibiotics, INCS, and antibiotics plus INCS. Some arms of the study will include a placebo. Merenstein’s award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

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