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Antibiotics in sore throat and tonsilitis

Antibiotics in Acute Sore Throat or Tonsilitis


In patients at low risk of rheumatic fever, antibiotics should only be prescribed if the patient is severely unwell. ≥ 70% of sore throats will be viral and do not need antibiotic treatment.

For risk stratification and management of sore throat see sore throat and tonsilitis

Where antibiotics are required they should be administered in accordance with the Heart Foundation guideline. Consideration should be given to the use of antibiotic syrup and an antiemetic if the patient is having difficulty swallowing and is nauseated.

Fluid requirements should also be considered; administration of IV fluids is funded by POAC where appropriate in accordance with the POAC Dehydration Guideline.

If the patient is completely unable to swallow syrup or unable to retain oral antibiotics despite antiemetics they should undergo hospital assessment. Cases of suspected quinsy should be discussed with or assessed by an ORL specialist.

POAC does not fund IV or IM antibiotics for the treatment of sore throat/tonsilitis or quinsy.


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