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Treatment of Sore Throat

S. Du Bose Ravenel, MD
JAMA. 1978;240(4):345. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290040023004.
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To the Editor.—  In his excellent article outlining a management strategy for sore throat, Komaroff (239:1429, 1978) appropriately emphasizes a point that has been the subject of differing opinion in his discussion of why one should bother to treat streptococcal pharyngitis when it is present. In regard to what effect treatment with penicillin has on the relief of symptoms, Komaroff states, "Treatment may slightly accelerate relief of symptoms if begun within 24 hours of symptom onset, but probably does not alter the clinical course in most cases." He cites a paper by Brumfitt and Slater1 in support of this statement. Their study assessed the duration of several manifestations of febrile sore throat in patients with positive cultures for β-hemolytic group A Streptococcus, comparing those treated with penicillin and aspirin gargle against those treated with aspirin gargle alone. Among the patients with positive streptococcal cultures not receiving penicillin, only 16% had


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