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Medications for Strep Throat (Streptococcal Pharyngitis)

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

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.

Filter
Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
amoxicillin / clavulanate 6.4 71 reviews for amoxicillin / clavulanate to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N
Generic name:
amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic
Brand names:
Augmentin, Amoclan, Augmentin XR
Drug class:
beta-lactamase inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Augmentin 6.5 35 reviews for Augmentin to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N
Generic name:
amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic
Drug class:
beta-lactamase inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
cefdinir 4.8 38 reviews for cefdinir to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N
Generic name:
cefdinir systemic
Drug class:
third generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
erythromycin 6.5 9 reviews for erythromycin to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Brand names:
Erythrocin, Ery-Tab, E.E.S. Granules, Eryc, EryPed, Erythrocin Lactobionate, PCE Dispertab
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
cefuroxime 9.5 2 reviews for cefuroxime to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N
Generic name:
cefuroxime systemic
Brand names:
Ceftin, Zinacef
Drug class:
second generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
clarithromycin 5.1 61 reviews for clarithromycin to treat Strep Throat
Rx C N
Generic name:
clarithromycin systemic
Brand name:
Biaxin XL
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Ceftin 10 1 review for Ceftin to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N
Generic name:
cefuroxime systemic
Drug class:
second generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Amoclan Rate Add review
Rx B N
Generic name:
amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic
Drug class:
beta-lactamase inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Augmentin XR Rate Add review
Rx B N
Generic name:
amoxicillin / clavulanate systemic
Drug class:
beta-lactamase inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Erythrocin 7.5 2 reviews for Erythrocin to treat Strep Throat
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Ery-Tab Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Zinacef Rate Add review
Rx B N
Generic name:
cefuroxime systemic
Drug class:
second generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
Biaxin XL Rate Add review
Rx C N
Generic name:
clarithromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
E.E.S. Granules Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Eryc Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
EryPed Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Erythrocin Lactobionate Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
gemifloxacin Off-label 9.0 1 review for gemifloxacin to treat Strep Throat
Rx C N
Generic name:
gemifloxacin systemic
Brand name:
Factive
Drug class:
quinolones and fluoroquinolones
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
Off-label:
Yes
PCE Dispertab Rate Add review
Rx B N X
Generic name:
erythromycin systemic
Drug class:
macrolides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Factive Off-label 9.0 1 review for Factive to treat Strep Throat
Rx C N
Generic name:
gemifloxacin systemic
Drug class:
quinolones and fluoroquinolones
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes

Frequently asked questions

View more FAQ

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

Care guides

Medicine.com guides (external)

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
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.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Expanded Access Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.
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
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.