Corticosteroids relieve sore throat pain

Painful sore throats can be effectively treated by a single dose of oral corticosteroids, research published online in the BMJ suggests.

After 24 hours, symptoms in patients with severe sore throats given corticosteroids in addition to antibiotics were three times more likely to have resolved. Corticosteroids also reduced the time patients were in pain by around six hours.

Eight trials, which included 369 children and 374 adults treated with corticosteroids (a penicillin, erythromycin or azithromycin), were analysed in the study.

Researchers found no difference between patients treated with oral or intramuscular doses.

They suggest, however, that research should be conducted into the effect of corticosteroids on sore throat independent of antibiotics. In addition, the researchers and an accompanying editorial, point to the lack of evidence on harms from corticosteroid use in this setting.


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