Cochrane LibraryCommon ColdInfantsNasal Irrigation

Cochrane review of nasal irrigation for upper airway infection

It’s commonly used to manage symptoms, but why is there so little research supporting it?

First, the details.

  • 3 studies (618 participants) were included in the review.

And, the results.

  • Most results showed no difference between nasal saline treatment and control.
  • Support of benefit with nasal saline irrigation in adults included…
    • An insignificant difference of 0.3 day (7 hours out of 8 days) for symptom resolution — 1 study
    • Less time off work — 1 study.
  • Minor discomfort was not uncommon.
  • 40% of babies did not tolerate nasal saline drops.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded there are too few studies, and the risk of bias was too great to permit confident conclusions.

3/18/10 18:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.