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

M Thomas, C Del Mar*, P Glasziou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-820
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number459
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


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