Why do antibiotics smell bad

Smell disorders can occur as a side effect of medication

30.09.2010

The gradual or sudden onset of olfactory disorders can have many causes. For example, certain drugs can affect the sense of smell ...

Odor disorders can have many causes, including as a side effect of taking medication. “Especially when certain drugs are taken over a long period of time, they can impair the sense of smell. These include, for example, antibiotics with the active ingredient amikacin, which are often used for respiratory, stomach, kidney or urinary tract infections. There are also cancer drugs such as the chemotherapy drug methotrexate, the high blood pressure lowering drug nifedipine and pain relievers such as morphine. If the medication is discontinued, the sense of smell usually comes back, "explains Stefan Drumm, Lower Saxony state chairman of the German professional association of ear, nose and throat specialists.

If people notice that their sense of smell is decreasing or changing in any way, they should see an ENT specialist. "It is important to clarify the cause of the olfactory disorders," advises the resident ENT doctor from Adendorf. The ENT doctor can see endoscopically whether the olfactory molecules are obstructed on their way to the olfactory nerves, for example by polyps, which are then surgically removed or whether there is another cause, "explains Drumm. Smell disorders can also occur in the context of certain underlying diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or diabetes. “If the ENT doctor can rule out a cause in the nasal or sinus area, he will refer the patient to a neurologist or internist. If an olfactory disorder turns out to be a side effect of taking medication, the ENT doctor will look for alternative medication with the respective specialist colleague, depending on the type of medication, "said the Lower Saxony state chairman.

If the olfactory disorder develops after a strong cold, the ENT doctor examines whether a viral infection has damaged the olfactory nerves. “But even then there is hope: the sense of smell can return up to two years after it has disappeared. Smell cells divide and grow back. They are the only sensory organ that renews itself, "Drumm encourages patients with olfactory disorders.