Background: Streptococcal pharyngitis is a common presentation to primary care and Emergency Department physicians. Every year, 10 million patients in the United States are treated with antibiotics for pharyngitis. However, less than 10% of these patients actually have strep pharyngitis (Barnett 2013). Prescribing of antibiotics for these patients centers on three arguments:
- Antibiotics reduce symptomology
- Antibiotics reduce the rate of suppurative complications
- Antibiotics reduce the rate of non-suppurative complications (primarily Rheumatic Heart Disease).
So, do patients with strep throat need to be treated with antibiotics?