Medicine for Tonsillitis

When your tonsils are inflamed and hurting, you might have tonsillitis. This means that the glands in your throat are inflamed, which result in a sore throat. Fortunately, most cases of tonsillitis go away without antibiotics or other medications; however, medicine for tonsillitis can make you feel much better by relieving the symptoms.

List of Medicine for Tonsillitis

Over-The-Counter Painkillers to Control Fever

There are numerous medications that work to combat the discomfort of tonsillitis. Though there is no dedicated medicine for tonsillitis, taking over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol)can help.Before reaching for the bottle, remember these rules:

  • Only those who are older than 1 month can take acetaminophen.
  • Only those who are 3 months or older can take ibuprofen.
  • Aspirin should only be taken by those 12 years of age or older. Those who have a fever and are under the age of 16 should never take aspirin, as it has been associated with a serious complication known as Reye’s syndrome.
  • Dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen should be based on your child’s weight. Look at the package for directions, or speak to your pediatrician about the proper dosage.
  • Take dosages at regular intervals for the best relief. For example, you could take ibuprofen every 6 hours to keep an even amount of medication in your body.
  • Ibuprofen has been shown to work better in adults than acetaminophen; however, this depends on the person. Acetaminophen tends to work better for children, especially those who are running a fever.


Medicine for tonsillitis might sometimes include antibiotics. This might be offered if you are suffering from a bacterial infection, rather than a viral one. In most cases, however, antibiotics are not recommended. That’s because they won’t speed up recovery but might give you unpleasant side effects, and taking them too often might lead to antibiotic resistance.

However, if you are dealing with very severe symptoms that have been going on for some time, or you have a weakened immune system, you might be prescribed a 10-day course of penicillin. If so, remember that it is important to continue to take all of the medications regardless of how you feel after a few days. Not taking a full course of medicine for tonsillitis as directed could result in a “rebound” of the infection or spreading of the infection to other parts of your body. Particularly, failure to complete the full course of antibiotics could also expose you to increased risk of rheumatic fever and inflammation of the kidney.

Penicillin is the most common prescription medicine for tonsillitis. However, those who are allergic to penicillin will find several alternatives, such as erythromycin. Those who are suffering from serious tonsillitis caused by a bacterial infection might be hospitalized if the condition worsens or symptoms don’t resolve. In such cases, the antibiotics will be administered intravenously.

Possible side effects of antibiotics include diarrhea, rash and stomach discomfort.

Self-Help Remedies for Tonsillitis 

Medicine for tonsillitis can help, but so can home remedies. Try these options to make you feel better during this time of a serious sore throat.

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Keep the room moist by running a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier.
  • Gargle with warm salt water, or drink warm fluids. If cold liquids make you feel better, you can have those instead.
  • Recommended foods include those that are easy on the throat, such as ice-ream or applesauce.
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke or the irritating fumes of cleaning products.
  • Have cough drops or lozenges that contain menthol or benzocaine.

In addition, there are also a number of alternative remedies you can try:

  • Look into serrapeptase and papain, which are both enzymes that treat inflammation.
  • Lozenges that contain slippery elm can help ease the pain.
  • Fever and sore throat might be relieved by andrographis.

Remember that many of these remedies are not appropriate for children and should only be used by adults. Speak with your doctor before starting any medicine for tonsillitis, even home remedies.

When Should I Consider Surgery?

Your tonsils actually do a good deed – they are part of the immune system, and they play a part in keeping you healthy. However, tonsils that are repeatedly inflamed might need to be surgically removed. This might happen if:

  • Tonsillitis is happening often: at least 7 times in the span of a year; more than 5 times each year in the proceeding 2 year; or more than 3 times each year in the proceeding 3 years. The increased frequency is a red flag.
  • Tonsillitis is affecting your normal day-to-day life and you are missing a great deal of work or school to deal with it.

Having the surgery is typically an easy operation. However, it does carry some risks. Always try medicine for tonsillitis first, and discuss with your doctor to work out the best treatment plan suitable for you. 

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