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Oral steroids effective for sore throats

A single dose of an oral steroid is effective in relieving pain in patients with severe sore throat already taking antibiotics, according to UK research.

A review of eight studies in 743 adults and children found rapid improvements in pain in adults with more severe symptoms.

In addition to antibiotics and analgesia, adult patients given corticosteroids were 3.2 times more likely to have complete resolution of pain after 24 hours, which increased to 1.7 times at 48 hours. Doses used were roughly equipotent: 8 mg betamethasone, up to 10mg dexamethasone or 60mg prednisone.

Corticosteroids also reduced mean time to onset of pain relief by more than 6. No effect was seen in children.

BMJ; published online Aug 6 2009

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