When the sinuses aren't able to drain adequately, bacteria can build up causing a sinus infection. Antibiotic treatments are generally prescribed for individuals with sinus infections, especially if decongestants have failed to provide relief.
Antibiotics get rid of the bacteria in the sinuses that cause infection. Doctors mainly prescribe amoxicillin for sinus infections because of its proven effectiveness, minimal side effects and affordability.
"A number of studies evaluating antibiotic treatment of sinusitis have shown that amoxicillin... and clarithromycin (Biaxin) are similarly effective in producing symptomatic and bacteriologic improvement in 80 to 90 percent of patients," according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Doctors prescribe clarithromycin for anywhere from one to two weeks, according to the Food and Drug Administration recommendations. Adults take 500 mg of clarithromycin twice daily. Children take a lower dose, typically 250 mg.
People with chronic sinus infections might need a second round of antibiotic treatment. The second treatment might be with clarithromycin again or with a different antibiotic.
The most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, abnormal taste, dyspepsia, abdominal pain/discomfort, and headache, according to the FDA. However, these side effects were rated from mild to moderate in most patients, with only 1 percent discontinuing clarithromycin treatment due to side effects.