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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.