Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 7 Issue 24 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 24-Jan-2005 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 25-Jan-2005
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Cochrane review: Don't take antibiotics for acute laryngitis

(24 January 2005: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Penicillin V and erythromycin give little or no benefit to people suffering from acute laryngitis. Taking them only runs the risk of stimulating the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Winter is a time when many people find their throat sore, the voice hoarse and they have a fever and difficulty swallowing. Correctly thinking they have laryngitis they head off to their doctors expecting to be given a prescription for antibiotics, and are disappointed when the doctor advises against them or refuses to supply this medication.

According to the finding of this Cochrane Review the doctor was right.

The authors considered results from two different clinical trials where patients with acute laryngitis were given either an antibiotic (penicillin V or erythromycin) or a placebo. People given the placebo got better just as quickly as those on antibiotics.

There was some evidence that during the recovery phase, those on erythromycin claimed to have slightly less voice disturbance and coughing, but this was not measured objectively by an expert. "We considered the any small benefits to be outweighed by the potential harm of taking unnecessary antibiotics," says Professor Ludovic Reveiz of the Clinica Reina Sofia, Bogota, Colombia, who headed this Cochrane review.

Review title: Reveiz et al: Antibiotic for acute laryngitis in adults. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 1

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