What is the role of medications in the treatment of peritonsillar abscesses (PTAs)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Jorge Flores, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Apart from drainage, antibiotics are a main component of therapy for peritonsillar abscesses.

Antibiotic therapy should begin prior to drainage and culture results.

Though several studies have shown intravenous penicillin alone is clinically effective (provided the abscess is adequately drained), other studies have reported that greater than 50% of cultures grow beta-lactamase – producing anaerobes, leading to the tendency to use broader-spectrum antibiotics such as clindamycin or a second- or third-generation oral cephalosporin.

In those patients allergic to penicillin, clindamycin is a good choice.

Analgesics and throat washes are recommended.

As mentioned above, some physicians report using adjunctive steroids to decrease edema and pain.

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