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Aspirin or ibuprofen

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Lots of studies have shown that taking one of these medicines can relieve the pain of a sore throat. [11] They are painkillers that also reduce inflammation. You can buy them from a pharmacy without a prescription.

You can also get painkillers that dissolve slowly in your mouth. The idea is that this gives the medicine time to act directly on your throat. You can buy lozenges from a pharmacist that contain a drug called flurbiprofen , which is similar to ibuprofen. The brand name is Strefen.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other similar drugs can irritate your stomach and cause ulcers or bleeding. [12] They have also been linked to kidney damage, but this shouldn't be a problem if you take the recommended dose for only a few days.

Guidelines for doctors recommend ibuprofen as the best painkiller for adults with a sore throat. For children, the recommended treatment is paracetamol, although ibuprofen can also be used. [13]

You shouldn't give aspirin to children under 16. It can very occasionally cause a condition called Reye's syndrome, which affects the brain and liver. [14]

Some over-the-counter medicines are only suitable for children over certain ages. Ask your pharmacist for advice, or check the packaging.



Inflammation is when your skin or some other part of your body becomes red, swollen, hot, and sore. Inflammation happens because your body is trying to protect you from germs, from something that's in your body and could harm you (like a splinter) or from things that cause allergies (these things are called allergens). Inflammation is one of the ways in which your body heals an infection or an injury.


An ulcer is an open sore. Ulcers can happen in many parts of your body, such as in your stomach, and the skin of your legs, mouth, or genitals.

For more terms related to Sore throat


For references related to Sore throat click here.
Last Updated: September 14, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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