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Home Industry News NICE guidance recommends paracetamol over antibiotics for sore throats

NICE guidance recommends paracetamol over antibiotics for sore throats

26th January 2018

GPs and other healthcare professionals are being advised against prescribing antibiotics for people with sore throats.

Final guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England has recommended that pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are preferable to antibiotics for the vast majority of patients experiencing a sore throat.

Respiratory tract infections are one of the main reasons people visit their GP or pharmacist. Although most people will recover from their sore throat without antibiotics after around a week, antibiotics are currently prescribed in 60 percent of cases.

This is a cause for concern at a time when the overall effectiveness of antibiotics is waning due to the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the emergence of which has been seen as a major public health emergency.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, said: "We are living in a world where bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. It is vital these medicines are protected, and only used when they are effective."

The guidance also noted that people whose sore throat is caused by bacteria – a condition sometimes referred to as strep-throat – may be more likely to benefit from antibiotics, and that healthcare professionals should use validated symptom scoring tools to identify these patients.

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