Every year it's estimated that approximately one-third of the world’s population suffers from sore throat. That’s over 2 billion people each year! The majority of these sore throats are due to viral infections. However, about a third of all cases are bacterial in origin and result in Strep throat.
The majority of affected people don't seek medical care, and the course of sore throat is typically self-limiting, which means it resolves spontaneously without medications.
Although, that’s not much comfort when you or a loved one is in pain. If you’re hurting, you want your sore throat gone and you want it gone ASAP. It’s easy to assume that antibiotics will get rid of your sore throat, or at least shorten its duration and reduce the amount of discomfort you’re feeling. But it’s important to wait until you have an actual diagnosis of Strep throat before taking antibiotics.
Using antibiotics when they aren’t warranted might actually aggravate the situation. It could also increase your risk of side effects due to incorrectly prescribed medications, and contribute to the issue of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Doctors face constant pressure to prescribe antibiotics from patients who think medication is the only way to feel better. As a result, a lot of doctors tend to overestimate most patients’ desire to use antibiotics and will readily prescribe, sometimes without determining if the cause is bacterial or viral.
Whether your sore throat is bacterial or viral, it still hurts. Thankfully, some of the best pain relief is often the simplest when it comes to treating a sore throat. Drinking warm fluids, gargling emollients like warm salt water, and pain-relieving medications are commonly used to alleviate symptoms. Strep throat lozenges are also an effective over-the-counter (OTC) home remedy for strep throat relief.
These lozenges work on Strep throat pain because they contain specific active ingredients that offer a pain-relieving numbing effect. Look for lozenges like Strepcils, that have Amylmetacresol and 2,4-Dichlorobenzylalcohol (AMC/DCBA). These particular active ingredients have both antiseptic and anaesthetic properties, decreasing the number of harmful organisms in the mouth and throat, while numbing pain in the affected area.
Strepsils lozenges are an excellent option to relieve the pain of a sore or Strep throat without a trip to the doctor.
German scientists performed a study to evaluate the benefits of these lozenges and their possible side effects for Sore throat patients. A total of 660 adults were involved in this study in which AMC/DCBA containing lozenges were compared against non-medicated lozenges.
The two were compared based on how effective they were at decreasing Sore throat pain. The study also looked at how effective the lozenges were at reducing any difficulty swallowing or numbness due to a sore throat.
The study found that AMC/DCBA containing lozenges were moderately effective at alleviating pain for uncomplicated sore throat patients. However, the study reported a small amount (16%) of patients experienced side effects.
The side effects were mild and included cough, headache, oral cavity irritation, and nasal congestion. The study also found that any beneficial effect of lozenges for sore throat pain will wear off after a couple of hours. To experience real, lasting pain relief, patients would have to constantly have a lozenge in their mouth.
Not very convenient. Which is why you’re better off using something like Tylenol or Motrin for real pain relief. The relief will last longer and will also help with other symptoms like fever or headache.
The study's authors concluded that AMC/DCBA containing lozenges are a good choice for an over-the-counter sore throat remedy, but it's more effective to use oral analgesic medications for a longer pain relief.
Lozenges can work together with your pain-relieving medication of choice to soothe a sore throat and manage pain. They can be another tool to add to your cold and flu toolbox.