Surfactants in the management of rhinopathologies

Rosen, Philip L.; Palmer, James N.; O'Malley Jr., Bert W.; Cohen, Noam A.
May 2013
American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy;May/Jun2013, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p177
Academic Journal
Background: Surfactants are a class of amphiphilic surface active compounds that show several unique physical properties at liquid-liquid or liquid-solid surface interfaces including the ability to increase the solubility of substances, lower the surface tension of a liquid, and decrease friction between two mediums. Because of these unique physical properties several in vitro, ex vivo, and human trials have examined the role of surfactants as stand-alone or adjunct therapy in recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Methods: A review of the literature was performed. Results: The data from three different surfactants have been examined in this review: citric acid zwitterionic surfactant (CAZS; Medtronic ENT, Jacksonville FL), Johnson's Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick NJ), and SinuSurf (NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Santa Rosa, CA). Dilute surfactant therapy shows in vitro antimicrobial effects with modest inhibition of bacterial biofilm formation. In patients with CRS, surfactants may improve symptoms, most likely through its mucolytic effects. In addition, surfactants have several distinct potential benefits including their ability to improve an irrigant's penetration of the nonoperated sinus and their synergistic effects with antibiotics. However, surfactants potential for nasal irritation and possible transient ciliotoxicity may limit their use. Conclusion: Recent data suggest a possible therapeutic role of surfactants in treating rhinopathologies associated with mucostasis. Further investigation, including a standardization of surfactant formulations, is warranted to further elucidate the potential benefits and drawbacks of this therapy.


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