Best Evidence Topics
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Which analgesic is best for sore throats?

Three Part Question

In [an adult with an acute sore throat] is [paracetamol or NSAIDS or phenolic gargles or throat lozenges] best at [providing pain relief and reducing duration of symptoms]?

Clinical Scenario

A 35 year old presents with an acute sore throat, although no tonsillar exudates, fever or lymphadenopathy. He asks what is the best pain relief?

Search Strategy

Medline 1966 to June Week 1 2005
Embase 1980 to 2005 Week 24
Cinahl Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature 1982 to June Week 1 2005
The Cochrane Library Issue 2 2005
Exp PHARYNGITIS/ OR exp LARYNGITIS/ OR exp TONSILLITIS/ OR exp Peritonsillar Abscess/ OR OR OR OR (peritonsillar adj5 abscess).af. OR OR (throat adj5 infection$) OR (sore adj5 throat$) OR exp Infectious Mononucleosis/ OR (infectious adj5 mononucleosis).af. OR (glandular adj5 fever).af.AND {exp Acetaminophen/ OR OR} AND { exp Mouthwashes/ OR gargle$.mp. OR (throat adj lozenge$).mp. OR exp Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/ OR exp Anti-Infective Agents, Local/} limit to (humans and English language)

Search Outcome

Medline 201 papers found, none relevant.
Embase 822, none relevant
Cinahl 39
Cochrane no relevant papers found


There were no studies found which compared all four variables. The side effects of analgesia, particulary NSAIDS should be considered.

Clinical Bottom Line

No evidence exists, local policy should be followed.