Objective: The benefit of a nasal corticosteroid in the treatment of persistent post-infectious smell disorders is not as clear in previous studies as is assumed for olfactory training. This study would therefore like to describe the treatment strategies using the example of a persistent olfactory dysfunction as a result of a proven infection with SARS-CoViD-2-virus. Methods: Twenty patients (average age of 33.9 ± 11.9 years) with hyposmia were included in this study from December 2020 to July 2021. Every second patient received additionally a nasal corticosteroid. The two resulting randomized groups of equal size were screened with the TDI test, a 20-item taste powder test for the assessment of retronasal olfaction and otorhinolaryngological examination. The patients were asked to train twice daily using a standardized odor training kit and followed up after 2 months and 3 months, respectively. Results: We documented a significant overall improvement in olfactory ability over the investigation period in both groups. While the TDI score steadily increased on average under the combination therapy, the rise under olfactory training alone was initially steeper. This short-term interaction effect over mean two months was not statistically significant. According to Cohen, however, a moderate effect (eta2 = 0.055, Cohen`s d = 0.5) can still be assumed. This effect could be explained by a possibly higher compliance at the beginning of the sole olfactory training due to the lack of further drug treatment offers. When the training intensity decreases, the recovery of the sense of smell stagnates. Adjunctive therapy ultimately outweighs this short-term benefit. Conclusions: The results reinforce the recommendation of early and consistent olfactory training on patients with dysosmia due to COVID-19. For continuous improvement of the sense of smell, an accompanying topical treatment seems at least to be worth consideration. The results should be optimized with larger cohorts and using new objective olfactometric methods.

Fuente: Ear, Nose & Throat Journal
First published online March 28, 2023