Strep Throat Medicine: What Antibiotics Treat Strep Throat?

Neha Mittal   by Neha Mittal, MS, Biotechnology    Last updated on October 3, 2019,

strep throat medicine

How can you cure strep throat with medicines?

Strep throat is a common bacterial infection observed in children. It is generally caused by a bacterial strain known as Streptococcal pyogene which results in the occurrence of sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, etc.

Strep throat, normally take around 7 days to get treated naturally but it is always advisable to consult a doctor. If the infection is left untreated or unmanaged then it may lead to various complications.

Doctors usually prescribe some over the counter medicines to cure strep throat, generally antibiotics, which gives proper relief and cure strep throat.

What to take for strep throat: Over the counter medicines for strep throat

Initially, your doctor may prescribe an over the counter medicine for strep throat which can help in treating and managing your strep throat infection. These over the counter strep medicines includes anesthetic agents, pain relievers, antibacterial, etc which can relieve the patient from symptoms such as fever, pain, etc.

Some common over the counter medicines prescribed by doctors are:

  • Acetaminophen- acetaminophen helps in reducing your temperature and relieve from pain.
  • Ibuprofen or aspirin- these medicines also help in curing strep throat but are not advisable for children younger than 3 years.
  • Anesthetic throat sprays- anesthetic throat sprays are used to numb your throat and relieve pain.

What antibiotics treat strep?

Since it is a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe you certain antibiotics for strep throat which can help to cure the infection. Antibiotics should only be given in severe cases when over the counter medicines do not help much. These may be over the counter antibiotics for strep throat or prescription medicines for strep throat.

Antibiotics help in reducing the severity of the infection and control the complications of strep throat. If the medicines are taken within 48 hours of onset of the infection, many of the severe complications of strep throat may be avoided.

Some of the best antibiotics for strep throat that doctors may recommend are as follows:


Penicillin is the most common and the first choice of antibiotics for all healthcare professionals. Doctors widely prescribe penicillin for the treatment of strep throat. Penicillin, as an antibiotic, acts as a wide range ailment which can cure many other infections too in addition to strep throat.

Penicillin can be taken orally or injected intravenously for duration of 10 days. Adults may take 500gms of the dose twice a day or 250 mg of medicine 4 times a day to cure strep throat.


In many severe cases, amoxicillin, an antibiotic, is more effective than penicillin in curing strep throat infection. According to a study, a single dosage of amoxicillin antibiotic will be equally effective as taking multiple dose of penicillin a day.

Children will like the taste of this antibiotic as compared to penicillin. One major drawback of consuming amoxicillin is that it may cause skin problems like rashes and gastrointestinal problem in children. Therefore, it is normally prescribed to adults only. Adults may take 500 mg of amoxicillin 3 times a day to cure strep throat.


Azithromycin is a type of macrolide antibiotic. It is also regarded as a secondary treatment option for penicillin. People, who are allergic to penicillin, are generally prescribed Azithromycin.

A person may also opt for Azithromycin in case he/she does not wish to take a full 10 days antibiotic course. This antibiotic is taken orally, 500 mg on the first day and 250 mg dose for the next 4 days.


Clarithromycin is most commonly sold by the name of Biaxin in the market and is considered as a good alternative for those people who are allergic to penicillin. Adults can take a full course of 250 mg of clarithromycin after every 12 hours for 10 days to properly treat the strep throat infection.


In some strep throat infection cases, the person becomes resistant to penicillin. This means that penicillin no longer helps in treating the infection in his or her body. In such cases, doctors may prescribe the patient clindamycin which can cure strep throat. Adults should take 300 mg of antibiotic 3 times a day for 10 days.

What is the best medicine for strep throat? What medicine is good for strep throat?

There is no best medicine for strep throat or best antibiotic for strep throat as such. One medicine does not fit all. Your doctor will decide which of the above listed medicines is most suitable for you. If you take any over the counter or prescription medicine for strep throat and it does not improve the condition after a few days or it worsens your condition or if it shows some side effects, you should immediately contact the doctor.

Medicine for strep throat pain

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help relieve pain and inflammation due to strep throat. Some home remedies such as gargling with salt water are a good natural remedy that can help clear the throat and relieve you from the pain.

Neha Mittal

Neha Mittal completed graduation in Biotechnology from Graphics Era University, Dehradun and Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University, Noida. In the past, she worked with Sharon Biomedicine Ltd., DUKES Products Ltd., and Forest Research Institute, Dehradun as researcher in biotechnology.


Neha loves singing and dancing in leisure time. She also enjoys traveling and maintains a collection of great novels.

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