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Sore throat: sucking sweets is sufficient

To relieve sore throats, no topical drug offers any tangible benefit over a sweet.

Common sore throats clear up spontaneously within a few days. Sucking sweets and drinking plenty of liquids often provide sufficient relief until the symptoms stop. No so-called “topical” antibacterial, antiseptic, or anaesthetic drug offers any tangible benefit. This also applies to ambroxol lozenges, which offer little additional relief to a plain sweet but can have some adverse effects (especially digestive).

Prescrire has produced a series of practical summaries on common self-medication situations, such as the sore throat. These summarises advise on when to seek medical advice, how to treat the problem without drugs, which drugs not to take, which drugs might be helpful.

For treating minor health problems, self-medication is not necessarily the most appropriate response.

©Prescrire December 2008

Source: "Ambroxol pastilles à sucer (Lysopadol°) " Rev Prescrire 2008; 28 (301) 815.

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