This concise consultation card was developed by Guidelines for Pharmacy in partnership with RB UK.
Sore throats are a common complaint in the pharmacy and although they are usually caused by self-limiting viral infections,1 they can be painful and irritating.
This Guidelines for Pharmacy card summarises key professional guidance to help you advise customers and make confident recommendations.
What the guidelines say
“Acute sore throat (including pharyngitis and tonsillitis) is self‑limiting and often triggered by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract – NICE2”
“Antibiotics make little difference to how long symptoms last or the number of people whose symptoms improve – NICE[A],2”
“Self care: Some evidence that medicated lozenges can help reduce pain in adults; however they may only help to reduce pain by a small amount – NICE2”
[A] In people who may be more likely to benefit from an antibiotic (FeverPAIN score of 2 or 3)2
Advice and discussion points
Up to 95% of sore throats are caused by viral infections,1 which can’t be treated with antibiotics; sore throats usually last around 1 week.2
Sore throats, including pharyngitis and tonsillitis, usually get better on their own, regardless of the cause (bacteria or virus).2
Manage acute sore throat through self-care including oral analgesics, adequate fluid intake, and medicated lozenges.2
RECOMMEND STREFEN (FLURBIPROFEN) FOR PROVEN RELIEF OF PAINFUL SORE THROATS
- Nothing is stronger for painful sore throats with a local action[B],3,4
- Starts to soothe in 2 minutes5
- Relief can last for up to 4 hours.6
[B] For verification, please contact PO Box 4044, Slough SL1 0NS
What the studies show:
Flurbiprofen from a lozenge formulation is absorbed into the throat tissue,[C] including the deeper layers that contain blood vessels and nerves which contribute to painful sore throats.7
[C] Based on the results of an ex vivo study.
- Worrall GJ. Can Fam Physician. 2007; 53:1961–2.
- NICE. Sore throat (acute): antimicrobial prescribing. NICE guideline NG84. NICE, 2018. Available at: www.nice.org.uk/ng84.
- Strefen Honey and Lemon. SPC. Accessed Nov 2020. www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6514/smpc
- Data on file. Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Ltd.
- Schachtel B, et al. Pain 2014; 155: 422–8.
- Benrimoj Sl et al. Clin Drug Invest 2001; 21: 183–93.
- Turner, R et al. Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications 2020; 12: 13–20.
Adverse events should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard. Adverse events should also be reported to Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Ltd on: 0333 200 5345
Date of preparation: February 2021