Topical Drug Delivery for Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Jonathan Liang, Andrew P. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic rhinosinusitis is a multifactorial disorder that may be heterogeneous in presentation and clinical course. While the introduction of endoscopic sinus surgery revolutionized surgical management and has led to significantly improved patient outcomes, medical therapy remains the foundation of long-term care of chronic rhinosinusitis, particularly in surgically recalcitrant cases. A variety of devices and pharmaceutical agents have been developed to apply topical medical therapy to the sinuses, and thereby take advantage of the access provided by endoscopic surgery. The goal of topical therapy is to address the inflammation, infection, and mucociliary dysfunction that underlies the disease. Major factors that impact success include the patient’s sinus anatomy and the dynamics of the delivery device. Despite a growing number of topical treatment options, the evidence-based literature to support their use is limited. In this article, we comprehensively review current delivery methods and the available topical agents. We also discuss biotechnological advances that promise enhanced delivery in the future, and evolving pharmacotherapeutical compounds that may be added to the rhinologist’s armamentarium. A complete understanding of topical drug delivery is increasingly essential to the management of chronic rhinosinusitis when traditional forms of medical therapy and surgery have failed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Otorhinolaryngology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Antimicrobials
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Corticosteroids
  • Drug delivery
  • Saline
  • Topical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Clinical Neurology

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