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Corticosteroids as standalone or add-on treatment for sore throat


Hayward, G., et al

Subject Keywords: Clinical benefit, Crticosteroid, Sore throat, Adult, Children
Type: Article
Region: International (other)

Sore throat is a common condition. Patients often receive antibiotics for sore throat, which is thought to contribute to resistance to antibiotics in individuals and the community. Sore throats are painful because of the inflammation of the lining of the throat. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and because they act on the upper respiratory tract in other conditions, may also be beneficial in sore throat.

This systematic review combined the results of eight trials which looked at this question, including a total of 743 participants. Patients taking corticosteroids were three times more likely to experience complete resolution of their sore throat symptoms by 24 hours compared to those taking placebo. In addition, corticosteroids improved the time to onset of symptom relief and the time to complete resolution of symptoms, although the trials were not consistent for these outcomes. Adverse events, relapse rates and recurrence rates were not different for corticosteroid compared to placebo groups. Limitations of the review include the absence of any trials set in Europe and the fact that only two trials addressed the question in children. As all the included trials also gave antibiotics to all participants, we recommend that future research should examine the benefit of corticosteroids in patients who are not also taking antibiotics.



Rights: © The Cochrane Collaboration
Suggested citation:

Hayward, G., et al. (2012) Corticosteroids as standalone or add-on treatment for sore throat [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st May 2019].


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