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Locally Delivered Flurbiprofen 8.75 mg for Treatment and Prevention of Sore Throat: A Narrative Review of Clinical Studies

Authors de Looze F, Shephard A, Smith AB

Received 2 July 2019

Accepted for publication 7 November 2019

Published 27 December 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 3477—3509


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Ferdinandus de Looze,1 Adrian Shephard,2 Adam B Smith3

1Data Health Australia Pty Ltd (AusTrials), Sherwood, QLD 4075, Australia; 2Category Development Organisation, Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3UH, UK; 3Evidence Generation and Clinical Research, Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd, Hull, HU8 7DS, UK

Correspondence: Adrian Shephard
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd, Turner House, 103–105 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3UH, UK
Tel +44 1753 217 800

Background: Antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed to many people with sore throat. As most cases of sore throat are viral and/or self-limiting, guidelines recommend symptomatic management as first-line treatment. This paper reviews the available clinical evidence for the efficacy and safety of low-dose (8.75 mg) flurbiprofen, locally delivered to the throat for the symptomatic management of pharyngitis/sore throat.
Method: A literature search was performed on 27 February 2019 using PubMed. Studies that met the following criteria were included in a narrative review: (1) studies evaluating the effectiveness of flurbiprofen for pharyngitis/sore throat; (2) randomized controlled studies; (3) locally administered formulation of study drug/comparator; and (4) flurbiprofen administered at 8.75 mg dose (single- or multiple-dose administration).
Results: A total of 17 papers were included in the review: 15 publications reporting data from nine unique clinical studies of flurbiprofen for acute pharyngitis, and two reporting studies of flurbiprofen for the prevention of postoperative sore throat (POST). Studies in acute pharyngitis demonstrated that single- and multiple-dose flurbiprofen 8.75 mg, locally administered in lozenge, spray or microgranule form, was well tolerated and provided early onset and long-lasting symptomatic relief from throat pain and soreness, sensation of swollen throat, difficulty swallowing, and other associated symptoms. This included patients with more severe symptoms, patients with confirmed Streptococcus A/C sore throat, and patients taking concomitant antibiotics. In addition, a single preoperative dose of flurbiprofen lozenge was shown to be effective for relieving early POST in patients undergoing general anesthesia.
Conclusion: Locally administered, low-dose flurbiprofen offers a useful first-line treatment option for symptomatic relief in patients with “uncomplicated” acute pharyngitis/sore throat associated with upper respiratory tract infection, thus potentially helping to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. It also offers an effective preoperative treatment option for the reduction of early POST severity and incidence.

Keywords: flurbiprofen, pharyngitis, sore throat, lozenge, spray, pain relief

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