Management of Post-Infectious Anosmia and Hyposmia: A Systematic Review.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology


washington; swedish; seattle; covid-19


BACKGROUND: Anosmia and hyposmia significantly affect patients' quality of life and have many etiologies, including trauma, inflammatory conditions including chronic rhinosinusitis, neoplasm, and viral infections, such as rhinovirus and SARS-CoV-2.

OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to establish whether a consensus exists regarding optimal management of olfactory dysfunction and to provide insight into the treatment of anosmia in the current climate of increased prevalence secondary to COVID-19. Thus, we aimed to systematically review the literature on the management of non-Chronic-rhinosinusitis- related anosmia/hyposmia.

METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched for articles published since January 1990 using terms combined with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). We included articles evaluating management of anosmia and hyposmia written in the English language, with original data, a minimum of 3 months of follow-up except for COVID-related studies, at least 2 patients, and well-defined and measurable outcomes.

RESULTS: A total of 3013 unique titles were returned upon the initial search. Of these, 297 abstracts were examined, yielding 19 full texts meeting inclusion criteria (8 with level 1 evidence, 3 with level 2, 1 with level 3, and 7 with level 4). The studies included a total of 1522 subjects, with follow up ranging from 3 to 72 months, with an exception for COVID related studies. Endpoints were based on clinically significant improvements of olfactory functions as measured through validated smell tests. Treatments with the most robust data were intranasal corticosteroids and olfactory training.

CONCLUSION: The literature on the treatment of anosmia and hyposmia includes randomized trials showing the efficacy of a few modalities. While further research is needed to expand therapeutic options for this debilitating condition, the current literature supports the use of olfactory training and topical corticosteroids.


Infectious Diseases