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Kristin Hayes, R.N.

Treating a Sore Throat With Steroids

By August 17, 2009

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A new study in adults shows that faster relief of a sore throat can be achieved by using a one time dose of steroids. While the study is intriguing on further examination it also doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The reason steroids would have any effect on a sore throat at all is because they have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Something that seems to be overlooked by the study which involved over 700 people is this: steroids suppress the immune system. That's right, they'll knock that inflammation in the back of your throat out, but they'll also knock out your immunity. Sounds like a great way to get over a cold doesn't it?

The study published on BMJ.com found that steroids reduced the amount of time to pain relief by about six hours. Forty-eight hours later they had no effect on sore throat pain. Hmmm... are you willing to trade six hours of a sore throat while possibly tacking a few extra days onto the amount of time it takes you to get over your cold?

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August 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm
(1) Mark says:

Steroids for a sore throat seems to be a bit of overkill. Not to mention if you suppress the inflammatory process are you masking the cause of the sore throat in the first place?

April 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm
(2) Jenn says:

Overkill for a mild sore throat or bacterial tonsilitis that responds to antibiotics? Perhaps. But after having viral tonsilitis to the point where I could barely swallow, I can say that I’d rather deal with 3 months of the sniffles than 3 days of that. Doctors said they couldn’t remove the tonsils till they were no longer inflamed (read: until the surgery would be pointless), kept prescribing antibiotics even though they admitted they wouldn’t do anything, until finally I asked about steroids – voila! Within HOURS of taking them I felt close to 100% again.

March 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm
(3) mark says:

Did it go away quick jenn?how many days were your tonsils swollen.its been 6days for me now :/ &it just seems to get worst

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