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Medications for Strep Throat (Streptococcal Pharyngitis)

Other names: Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis; Pharyngitis, streptococcal; Strep Pharyngitis

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throats are a type of bacterial sore throat caused by Streptococcus pyrogene bacteria, a type of Group A streptococci. They are common in children aged five to fifteen years, but rare in children under the age of three.

Generally, Strep sore throats tend to be very painful and symptoms persist for a lot longer than sore throats due to a virus or another cause. Swallowing may be particularly difficult. Other symptoms that are more likely to occur with a Strep throat include:

  • A very red and swollen-looking throat and tonsils; sometimes streaks of pus or red spots on the roof of the mouth are visible
  • Headache
  • Fever and Chills
  • Swollen and tender glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
  • Vomiting or nausea (mostly in children).

Scarlet Fever

Some people are susceptible to the toxins (poisons) produced by the S. pyrogenes bacteria, and develop a bright red rash that feels like sandpaper to the touch. A rash caused by S. pyrogenes bacteria is known as Scarlet Fever (also called scarlatina). Scarlet fever is more likely to develop in children over the age of three at preschool or people exposed to overcrowded environments such as boarding schools or military camps.

Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever can also develop following a Strep throat infection or scarlet fever. Rheumatic fever has the potential to cause life-long cardiac problems if not treated promptly or properly and it can also affect the joints, skin, and the brain. Symptoms of rheumatic fever include:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Joint swelling, pain, redness, or warmth
  • Nose bleeds
  • A rash on the upper part of the arms or legs (usually ring-shaped or snake-like
  • Skin nodules or lumps
  • In young children, unusual crying or laughing or quick jerky movements of the face, hands, or feet.

Strep Throat Diagnosis

See your doctor if you have had a sore throat for longer than two days or it is very painful or you can see white patches or pus on the back of your throat. Other reasons to see your doctor include a fine sandpaper-like pink rash on your skin or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Your doctor will examine your neck and lymph nodes and may take a swab of your throat if Strep throat is suspected.

Strep Throat Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin to treat your Strep throat. It is important to take these as prescribed and finish the course of treatment. 

Other remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of a sore throat include:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain
  • Lemon and honey warm drinks, tea
  • Cool liquids or iceblocks to help numb the throat
  • Sucking throat lozenges
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Marshmallow root
  • Slippery elm.

Drugs Used to Treat Strep Throat

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
Augmentin B N 31 reviews
6.8

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

amoxicillin / clavulanate B N 64 reviews
6.4

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Brand names:  Augmentin, Amoclan, Augmentin XR

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

cefdinir B N 33 reviews
4.4

Generic name: cefdinir systemic

Drug class: third generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

clarithromycin C N 55 reviews
5.1

Generic name: clarithromycin systemic

Brand name:  Biaxin XL

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

erythromycin B N X 6 reviews
6.2

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Brand names:  Erythrocin, Ery-Tab, E.E.S.-400, E.E.S. Granules, Eryc, EryPed, Erythrocin Lactobionate, PCE Dispertab …show all

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

cefuroxime B N 1 review
10

Generic name: cefuroxime systemic

Brand names:  Ceftin, Zinacef

Drug class: second generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Ceftin B N 1 review
10

Generic name: cefuroxime systemic

Drug class: second generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Erythrocin B N X 2 reviews
7.5

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Amoclan B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Augmentin XR B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic

Drug class: beta-lactamase inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Ery-Tab B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

E.E.S.-400 B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

E.E.S. Granules B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Eryc B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

EryPed B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Erythrocin Lactobionate B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

PCE Dispertab B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: erythromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Zinacef B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: cefuroxime systemic

Drug class: second generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Biaxin XL C N Add review
0.0

Generic name: clarithromycin systemic

Drug class: macrolides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Factive Off Label C N 1 review
9.0

Generic name: gemifloxacin systemic

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

gemifloxacin Off Label C N 1 review
9.0

Generic name: gemifloxacin systemic

Brand name:  Factive

Drug class: quinolones

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Off Label: Yes

Alternative treatments for Strep Throat

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Strep Throat. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Strep Throat.

Learn more about Strep Throat (Streptococcal Pharyngitis)

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Drugs.com Health Center

Mayo Clinic Reference

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

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