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Use of antibiotics for sore throat and incidence of quinsy

Dunn, Nick, Lane, Dan, Everitt, Hazel and Little, Paul (2007) Use of antibiotics for sore throat and incidence of quinsy British Journal of General Practice, 57, (534), pp. 45-49. (PMID:17244424).

Record type: Article



Quinsy is the most common major suppurative complication of sore throat. Evidence on the effectiveness of antibiotics in preventing quinsy is sparse.


To assess the incidence of quinsy and the pattern of presentation, and to identify variables that predict the development of quinsy.

Design of study

Case-control study.


UK-wide primary care.


Retrospective analysis of data from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) for the years 1995–1997.


There were 606 recorded cases of patients with quinsy, but only 192 (31%) of these patients presented following an initially uncomplicated sore throat. Patients with quinsy were more likely to be aged 21–40 years (odds ratio [OR] = 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.7 to 3.6, compared with other ages), smokers (OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.8 to 3.5), and male (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.1 to 2.2). Quinsy developed very quickly for most patients (median of 2 days after tonsillitis and 3 days after a sore throat). For cases initially labelled as tonsillitis, there was a non-significant trend of antibiotics preventing quinsy (OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.3 to 1.3), but no evidence that antibiotics prevent quinsy for cases labelled as sore throat or pharyngitis (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.7 to 2.2).


Most patients with quinsy develop the condition rapidly, and many do not present with a respiratory tract infection to their GP first. The current low doses of antibiotics used in modern community settings may be less likely to protect against quinsy than the trial evidence suggests.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 1 January 2007
Keywords: antibiotics, incidence, quinsy, sore throat
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 66528
ISSN: 0960-1643
PURE UUID: 43d07dd0-7c19-46e8-863d-c7d42f058d96
ORCID for Hazel Everitt: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 Jun 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:23

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