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How Effective is Amoxicillin for a Sore Throat?

Anna T.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The effectiveness of amoxicillin for a sore throat depends on whether the sore throat was caused by a bacterial infection. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that is usually very effective for treating strep throat or tonsillitis, which are two types of common throat infections. Sore throats that are caused by the common cold are not treatable with antibiotics because colds are caused by a virus, and antibiotics don't work for viruses. Amoxicillin is also not useful for treating sore throats caused by allergy problems.

Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria. When a person develops a sore throat, a medical professional will normally try to determine what caused the pain before prescribing any medication. In most cases, antibiotics are not prescribed at all unless the throat problem was caused by some type of bacterial infection. Amoxicillin is commonly prescribed to people who have strep throat or tonsillitis, which is occasionally caused by strep. If this or another antibiotic is prescribed for a sore throat and the symptoms do not improve within a few days, it is likely that the pain was caused by either a viral infection or some other type of problem, such as post-nasal drip from the common cold or allergies.

To determine whether a bacterial infection is the cause of a sore throat, a healthcare professional usually has to take a sample of the throat mucus. When the mucus is examined under a microscope, the bacteria or virus can typically be seen and identified. These lab tests normally take roughly 15 to 20 minutes to perform, and antibiotics may be prescribed the same day a patient arrives at the office complaining of symptoms. In addition to taking antibiotics, a healthcare professional might recommend the patient take pain relievers to help manage throat pain until the infection begins to clear up.

The instructions for use of amoxicillin for a sore throat vary depending on a person's age. Young children may be instructed to take a small amount twice daily for five to ten days, while adults might be advised to use a larger dosage just once per day for a week or less. Regardless of how the medicine is taken, people with bacterial throat infections often report improvements in their symptoms within two to three days. A person who has been prescribed amoxicillin should continue to take the medicine for the entire length of time specified by the prescription because stopping any type of antibiotic prematurely could cause the infection to come back.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon951587 — On May 16, 2014

@Literally45: If you don't kill strep using antibiotics, then the bacteria may begin attacking your heart and joints.

By anon930773 — On Feb 06, 2014

@literally45: Some infections are so bad they can even kill you. It is better to take antibiotics than dying.

By SarahGen — On Jan 13, 2013

Thank you for this article. I was about to use amoxicillin for my sore throat. But mine is not caused by bacteria, it's caused by the cold, so I won't use it.

By burcidi — On Jan 13, 2013
@literally45-- But sometimes, antibiotics are necessary.

I'm taking it right now for strep throat. I've had strep throat symptoms for weeks and I was so frustrated. My doctor did some testing, diagnosed it as strep and prescribed amoxicillin. I'm on my third day of the medication and have started to feel better.

I don't know how much longer I would have had strep throat if it weren't for the amoxicillin. So I don't agree with you.

By literally45 — On Jan 13, 2013

I'm against the general use of antibiotics for minor ailments like sore throat. Even if the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, I think wide use of antibiotics is harmful to us in the long term.

The more we use antibiotics, the more resistant bacteria become. Eventually, antibiotics won't be effective at all. That's why drug companies keep coming up with more antibiotics because bacteria don't respond to older ones as well anymore.

A sore throat diagnosis can be treated with some warm salt water gargling and eating foods rich in vitamins to strengthen the immune system. Antibiotics like amoxicillin should be reserved for more serious infections that don't respond to other treatments.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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