Sore Throat Treatment

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Sore Throat

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A sore throat is a very common condition usually caused by an infection in the throat. The soreness will usually worsen over the course of 2 to 3 days.

In 90% of cases, the symptoms will settle within 7 days without antibiotics. Unnecessary use of antibiotics may cause side effects and may increase the incidence of antibiotic resistance.

You may also develop a sore throat if you have a cold or flu-like illness.

Please visit the following NHS site for further information regarding the condition:

nhs.uk/conditions/Sore-throat/Pages/introduction.aspx


Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms

  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain on swallowing
  • Coated tonsills
  • Low grade fever
  • Swollen glands in the neck
Common Treatments

Most throat are viral, do not require antibiotics, and will improve within a week on their own. Common treatments for the symptoms include paracetamol, ibuprofen, and throat lozenges which can help with the pains and fever. You can seek further advice about such over the counter treatments from your local pharmacy.

Possible treatments we prescribe if clinically appropriate:

  • Phenoxymethylpenicillin 250mg Four Times Per Day - 7 Day Course £1.18
  • Clarithromycin 250mg Twice A Day- 5 Day Course £1.65
  • Clarithromycin 500mg Twice A Day - 5 Day Course £3.32

Prices shown are cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2016, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add on a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices.

When to seek further medical advice

If your symptoms become severe, you develop a persistent high fever or do not ease within a week then to seek further medical advice.

Symptoms unsuitable for i-GP

There are certain symptoms that may be present with a Sore Throat that suggests you should see a doctor in person, as soon as possible. You will require a physical assessment and you may require further investigation.

  • Severe pain
  • A persistent high temperature (fever).
  • A severe illness, especially when symptoms are mainly on one side of the throat.

If you develop any of the following symptoms, then you must seek urgent medical advice immediately (from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent care centre, NHS 111) or call an ambulance if the symptoms are severe:-

  • Difficulty swallowing saliva or opening your mouth.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Stridor (noisy breathing)
  • Chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Neck stiffness
  • Non-blanching rash
Phenoxymethylpenicillin

Do not take Phenoxymethylpenicillin if you are allergic to penicillin.

Please fully read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with the medication before starting treatment. 

This will contain more comprehensive information and a full list of side effects. 

How to take Phenoxymethylpenicillin

You should take phenoxymethylpenicillin on an empty stomach. Take your dose one hour before you eat any food, or wait until two hours afterwards. This is because your body absorbs less of the medicine after a meal, which means it is less effective.

Remember to finish the course as prescribed.

Allergic Reactions

An itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or have difficulty breathing, these may be signs that you are allergic to the antibiotic. 

Please note that i-GP DOES NOT TREAT Medical Emergencies. 

If you develop any sudden onset of the following then you must STOP the medication and seek urgent medical advice (from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent care centre or NHS 111) or call an ambulance if the symptoms are severe:-

  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face or lips
  • A rash particularly if affecting your entire body

Possible Side Effects

All medications have the potential to cause side effects, but not everyone experiences them.The most common ones include

  • Feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Redness and itching in the mouth or vagina (thrush)
  • Skin rashes

If concerned about any side effects you can contact us for further advice.

Clarithromycin

Please fully read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with the medication before starting treatment. 

This will contain more comprehensive information and a full list of side effects. 

How to take Clarithromycin

The tablets can be taken either before or after food.

Remember to finish the course as prescribed.

Allergic Reactions

An itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or have difficulty breathing, these may be signs that you are allergic to the antibiotic. 

Please note that i-GP DOES NOT TREAT Medical Emergencies. 

If you develop any sudden onset of the following then you must STOP the medication and seek urgent medical advice (from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent care centre or NHS 111) or call an ambulance if the symptoms are severe:-

  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face or lips
  • A rash particularly if affecting your entire body

Possible Side Effects

All medications have the potential to cause side effects, but not everyone experiences them. The most common ones include

  • Feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Redness and itching in the mouth or vagina (thrush)
  • Tooth or tongue discolouration, and changes in the way things taste or smell. This will settle once you finish treatment.
  • Headache

If concerned about any side effects you can contact us for further advice.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics should be used responsibly and only when really necessary. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. This is where the antibiotic becomes less effective at treating certain types of bacterial infection, so they do not work when needed. 

Antibiotics should be taken as prescribed, and it is important to complete the full course, this can reduce the chance of the bacteria developing an immunity to that antibiotic. It is important not to share antibiotics, and always take unused medication to your local pharmacy for disposal.

References

NICE CKS Acute Sore throat July 2015

Patient.info; Sore Throat 

Respiratory tract infections (self-limiting): prescribing antibiotics; NICE Clinical Guideline (July 2008)

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