Corticosteroids for pain relief in sore throat: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Gail Hayward, Matthew Thompson, Carl Heneghan, Rafael Perera, Chris Del Mar, Paul Glasziou

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42 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether systemic corticosteroids improve symptoms of sore throat in adults and children. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources: Cochrane Central, Medline, Embase, Database of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE), NHS Health Economics Database, and bibliographies. Outcome measures: Percentage of patients with complete resolution at 24 and 48 hours, mean time to onset of pain relief, mean time to complete resolution of symptoms, days missed from work or school, recurrence, and adverse events. Results: Weincluded eight trials, consisting of 743 patients in total (369 children, 374 adults). 348 (47%) had exudative sore throat, and 330 (44%) were positive for group A β-haemolytic streptococcus. In addition to antibiotics and analgesia, corticosteroids significantly increased the likelihood of complete resolution of pain at 24 hours (four trials) bymore than three times (relative risk 3.2, 95% confidence interval 2.0 to 5.1), and at 48 hours (three trials) to a lesser extent (1.7, 1.3 to 2.1). Corticosteroids (six trials) reduced mean time to onset of pain relief by more than 6 hours (95% confidence interval 3.4 to 9.3, P<0.001), although significant heterogeneity was present. The mean time to complete resolution was inconsistent across trials and a pooled analysis was not undertaken. Reporting of other outcomes was limited. Conclusions: Corticosteroids provide symptomatic relief of pain in sore throat, in addition to antibiotic therapy, mainly in participants with severe or exudative sore throat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-490
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Volume339
Issue number7719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2009

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Pharyngitis
Meta-Analysis
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Pain
Databases
Confidence Intervals
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Information Storage and Retrieval
Bibliography
Streptococcus
Analgesia
Economics
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Recurrence
Health
Therapeutics

Cite this

Hayward, Gail ; Thompson, Matthew ; Heneghan, Carl ; Perera, Rafael ; Del Mar, Chris ; Glasziou, Paul. / Corticosteroids for pain relief in sore throat : Systematic review and meta-analysis. In: British Medical Journal. 2009 ; Vol. 339, No. 7719. pp. 488-490.
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Corticosteroids for pain relief in sore throat : Systematic review and meta-analysis. / Hayward, Gail; Thompson, Matthew; Heneghan, Carl; Perera, Rafael; Del Mar, Chris; Glasziou, Paul.

In: British Medical Journal, Vol. 339, No. 7719, 29.08.2009, p. 488-490.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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