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Br J Gen Pract. 2000 Oct;50(459):817-20.

How effective are treatments other than antibiotics for acute sore throat?

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  • 1Centre for General Practice, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia.


To estimate the benefits of treatments other than antibiotics for acute sore throat, and the differences between non-antibiotic interventions and controls in patient-perceived pain of sore throat, a systematic review of controlled trials in Medline and the Cochrane Library was carried out. Sixty-six randomised controlled trials (with or without additional antibiotics) were identified and 17 met the selection criteria. Twenty-two non-antibiotic managements for sore throat were compared. Their efficacy relative to placebo ranged from no effect to 93%. Some non-antibiotic treatments may be more effective than antibiotics; however, publication bias may have exaggerated the benefits. These treatments should be investigated further with respect to efficacy, safety, and side-effects as potential firstline management options for acute sore throat.

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