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August 1989

Pharyngitis Medicamentosa

Author Affiliations

Bayonne, NJ

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(8):995. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860320105036

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To the Editor.—I propose pharyngitis medicamentosa for the name of a persistent sore throat sustained by the use of powerful, over-the-counter throat sprays and lozenges. These products, especially preparations containing phenol and phenolate sodium (Chloraseptic), are advertised on television and are used by millions of people as self-medication for sore throats of any origin. The average user assumes that the product is very safe, if not harmless, or he or she would not be allowed to purchase it freely, without a prescription. Many do not heed the printed warning: "Consult Physician if sore throat is severe, lasts more than two days....."

Recently, I saw two patients, consecutively, with this problem. Both had pharyngitis related to upper respiratory tract infection, and both persisted in using this particular spray four or more times a day for more than 1 week. They each had mild pharyngitis with edema of the uvula. Throat

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