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Flashcards in Otorhinolaryngology--ENT Deck (24)
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antihistamines, decongestants, expectorants, corticosteroids, antibiotics and other anit-infectives

ENT drugs (Ear, nose and throat)


'Neo-synephrine' nasal spray (phenylephrine)--doesn't last as long as-->' Afrin' nasal spray (oxymetazoline)

topical decongestants


reduce blood flow to edematous mucous membranes in the nose, sinuses and banks by vasoconstriction to decrease swelling and also open eustachian tubes to even the pressure on both sides of the tympanic membrane (ear drum)

alpha-adrenergic receptor agonists


Sudafed (Pfizer's original formulation with pseudoephedrine--amphetamine class)--which now contains phenylephedrine
Contact (and most others now contain phenylephedrine)

Oral OTC decongestants
*phenylephrine now considered less effective but pseudoephredrines are pretty much banned


CNS stimulation, insomnia, anxiety, restless and irritability

side effects of decongestants--oral mostly, which often used to contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine
*phenylephrine (topical) tends to have less of these


These drugs block the H1 Rc on cells found in
the nose and throat. When the H1 rc are blocked,
histamine, which is released from mast cells, cannot bindand cause allergic effects.

*used in the treatment of hay fever, but have no proven benefits in the treatment of the common cold (even though they are found in numerous OTC cold remedies)


They belong to the “-leukast” family of drugs, e.g.
montelukast, and there has only been a few of these drugs developed, to date;
They block these inflammatory mediators (eicosanoids) produced in the arachidonic acid pathway

Leukotriene blockers

*Leukotriene Rc blocker drugs have been approved only for the treatment of asthma, and severe hay fever not responding to antihistamine therapy


Singulair (montelukast) by Merck
Accolate (zafirlukast) by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals
» Ultair (pranlukast) by SmithKline Beecham has been approved in Europe and Japan, and is in late stage trials for use in this country

Leukotriene blocker drugs


Used for allergies and asthma;
These drugs coat mast cells and prevent the release of their histamine granules (which precipitate the allergic reaction/cause the
symptoms of an allergic reaction)
Theyrevent degranulation and release of histamine
and other inflammatory mediators, they are effective for prophylaxis only - once the allergic reaction has occurred, only α-agonist (oxymetazoline or phenylephrine), will be immediately helpful.
Antihistamines should also be taken before the allergic reaction occurs!

Mast Cell Stabilizers

*cromolyn (NasalCrom) was the first of this type of drug (the prototype) and is still in widespread use


-Used for a range of mild to severe conditions (i.e. skin reactions or Rheumatoid arthritis)
-first introduced in the 1950's as the "miracle drug"
used to lower inflammation
-effective for upper airway (rhinitis, sinusitis, allergies, mouth lesions/swelling, chronic ear inflammation
*potentially for canker sores--not proven
*have a number of side-effects

i.e. Flonase (fluticasone) and Nasacort (triamcinolone)
*Even though generally only used locally, they still have some absorbtion systemically


Oral antibiotics (i.e. to treat Strep):
pen VK, amoxicillin, Biaxin (clarithromycin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

ENT drugs for bacterial infections


Bactroban (mupirocin), & Neosporin ("Triple Antibiotic": originally contained Neomycin, polymyxin B, and bacitracin)
*limited to topical use because of toxicity

Topical creams and ointments for impetigo infections around nose and mouth


Floxin Otic (ofloxacin)--solution of flouroquinolone
*for external ear infections
*sometimes in combo with an antifungal agent

Antibiotic solutions & suspensions


-viruses infect nose and throat
-spread through close contact with saliva & mucous (sneezing, couging, etc.)
*increased by poor handwashing habits and people being in close contact

the common cold

*secondary bacterial infections often complicate
the primary viral infection; this is usually manifested by worsening symptoms after a short period of
recovery (about a week)


therapy directed at symptoms of illness NOT the underlying cause of disease

Symptomatic Therapy


viral infections of the upper respiratory tract for
which we do have specific therapy

influenza, RSV, and herpetic cold sores
*Herpetic cold sores can be treated with acyclovir-type drugs, and influenza can be treated with oral therapy (Relenza, Tamiflu), or TVI. Most cases of RSV infections in infants don’t require drug therapy.


miconazole, clotrimazole and nystatin are used as a “swish and swallow”

ENT Antifungal Therapy:
for oral thrush infections; they can also be part of treating some sinus infections


Suppress coughing by working on the cough center in the brain stem or by anesthetizing the stretch receptors in the respiratory tract


*Most coughs caused by URIs, particularly the most
common types of URIs (viral) are simply a nuisance, and can be suppressed without regard to the course of the illness


Narcotic cough suppressants that tend to be the best antitussive drugs we have
*codeine was the drug most often given to
suppress a cough – it is still widely used for that purpose, however, dextromethorphan (DM, or DXM) is more widely used nowadays because it isn't an opioid and its OTC
*because of it ubiquity in OTC medications,
DXM, like acetaminophen, can be inadvertently multipledosed: a problem especially for young children; teens are abusing it and mixing with other drugs

Codeine/morphine (are the classic examples,
but any opioid will do)
Hydrocodone (Hycodan) is also often used


Sometimes you shouldn't suppress a cough because...

In pneumonias, recovery depends on killing the infection, and on coughing-up and clearing the pooled mucous


reduce the thickness of sputum so that patients can more easily cough it up
*guaifenesin is the only one we will study
• the active ingredient is derived from the guaiac tree, the resin of which has been used for centuries in cough and cold remedies
• it is a very popular component of many OTC cough and cold preparations (i.e. Robitussin)



A disorder with equilibrium, caused a problem in the inner ear. Often it is just a temporary viral infection that causes it—sometimes it can be a sign of more serious inner ear disease



Used as drugs for treating motion sickness and the vertigo and nausea the accompanies it -Dramamine (an antihistamine) and scopolamine(Transderm Scop – a belladonna anticholinergic drug) are OTC medications used to prevent motion sickness

Antihistamines and other anticholinergic drugs


sympathomimetic drugs that have alpha-agonist activity (vasonconstrictors to reduce upper airway congestion)
*combined with antihistamines in many cold remedies
*best applied locally to affected area