Treatment for pharyngitis may include rest, plenty of fluids, antibiotics, nonprescription sore throat medicine, warm saltwater gargles, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever. Antibiotics are not effective for treating pharyngitis caused by viruses.
Specific treatment for pharyngitis includes:
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Antibiotics for bacterial pharyngitis:
- Penicillin G benzathine (Bicillin L-A, Permapen)
- Penicillin VK (Beepen VK)
- Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Biomox, Trimox)
- Azithromycin (Zithromax)
- Erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin)
- Clindamycin (Cleocin)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
- Intramuscular injection of dexamethasone may help relieve symptoms in some cases.
- Take nonprescription medication for sore throat:
- Gargle with warm salt water
- Acetaminophen for pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
For more information:
Pharyngitis Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of pharyngitis.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- For how long?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How do I avoid passing the infection to others?
- Do I need medication?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having pharyngitis again?
- Will I need to see my doctor for a checkup?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat pharyngitis:
Continue to Pharyngitis Home Care
- Cooper RJ, Hoffman JR, Bartlett JG, Besser RE, Gonzales R, Hickner JM, Sande MA; American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine; Centers for Disease Control. Principles of appropriate antibiotic use for acute pharyngitis in adults: background. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Mar 20;134(6):509-17. 
- Huovinen P. Causes, diagnosis and treatment of pharyngitis. Compr Ther. 1999 Jun-Jul;25(6-7):326-9. 
- Linder JA, Stafford RS. Antibiotic treatment of adults with sore throat by community primary care physicians: a national survey, 1989-1999. JAMA. 2001 Sep 12;286(10):1181-6. 
- Zwart S, Sachs AP, Ruijs GJ, Gubbels JW, Hoes AW, de Melker RA. Penicillin for acute sore throat: randomised double blind trial of seven days versus three days treatment or placebo in adults. BMJ. 2000 Jan 15;320(7228):150-4.