Paracetamol or ibuprofen best treatment for sore throats, says RCGP

Publication date: 26 January 2018

Responding to new NICE and PHE recommendations on the best treatment for sore throats, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Respiratory tract infections or sore throats, can make you feel rotten, and GPs understand our patients wanting access to something that will make them feel better, but in the majority of cases this won't be – and shouldn't be - antibiotics.

"Most of the time sore throats are self-limiting and should clear up without medication within a week – the majority are caused by a viral infection, not a bacterial one, so antibiotics would not work to treat them anyway. We support the NICE recommendation today that paracetamol or ibuprofen would be the most appropriate first line treatment to manage the pain caused by a sore throat.

"Antibiotics are essential drugs but the bacteria causing infections are increasingly becoming resistant to them, and when that happens they cease to work. We must use them sparingly and only when they are appropriate in order to help curb this dangerous and global trend – and we need our patients' help with this by them understanding that antibiotics are not a cure for every ill.

"The RCGP has worked with Public Health England to develop the TARGET Antibiotics toolkit to support GPs and other healthcare professionals in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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