Repeated dosing of 25 mg oromucosal ibuprofen provides greater and more rapid pain relief for non-streptococcal sore throat pain than placebo, according to findings from a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.1

Patients who had sore throat with severe associated pain rated as ≥5 on the 21-point Tonsillo-Pharyngitis Assessment scale and ≥60 mm on the visual analogue Sore Throat Pain Intensity Scale [STPIS]) were randomly assigned to receive 25 mg ibuprofen (n=194) or placebo (n=191). The researchers then evaluated treatment efficacy in both groups using the TOTal PAin Relief (TOTPAR) score with the Sore Throat Relief Scale (STRS).

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Patients in the low-dose ibuprofen group experienced greater pain relief compared with patients in the placebo group for up to 2 hours after initial dosing (P <.05). In addition, researchers found a higher efficacy rate for the ibuprofen group compared with placebo during the 4-day treatment duration (P <.05). There was no significant difference in adverse effects or safety between ibuprofen and placebo.

The placebo used in this study was a lozenge which stimulated salivation and had pleasant lemon and honey flavors, which might have contributed to relieving the sore throat.

The researchers concluded that 25 mg ibuprofen represents an adequate treatment for sore throat, “as its pain-relieving effects are excellent and supersede[s] the risk profile of orally taken 200 mg ibuprofen.”

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  1. Bouroubi A, Donazzolo Y, Donath F, et al. Pain relief of sore throat with a new anti-inflammatory throat lozenge, ibuprofen 25 mg: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, international phase III study [published online September 4, 2017]. Int J Clin Pract. doi:10.1111/ijcp.12961