What is the role of medications in the treatment of pharyngitis (sore throat)?

Updated: May 06, 2020
  • Author: John R Acerra, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

GAS pharyngitis is usually a self-limited disease, and most signs and symptoms resolve spontaneously in 3-4 days. If administered early, antibiotics can shorten the duration of the illness by up to 1 day, but the main reason they are given is for prevention of acute rheumatic fever. [33] This rationale is being questioned by many as the incidence of acute rheumatic fever in the United States is extremely low. In addition, pain medications such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen and steroids can alleviate the symptoms associated with GAS pharyngitis. [34] Antibiotics do not prevent acute glomerulonephritis. Steroids may be used for airway compromise and symptomatic relief. [35] Antifungals and antivirals are used in certain rare cases with specialist consultation.


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