New OTC sore throat products come in many forms

February 1, 2009
Dana K. Cassell
Dana K. Cassell

Dana K. Cassell, a frequent contributor to <i>Drug Topics</i>, lives in North Stratford, N.H.

New OTC products for sore throats include sprays, lozenges, strips, ices, and liquids.

Key Points

Winter is the season for acute sore throats resulting from upper respiratory infections. A sore throat may be a symptom of several conditions; this time of year, it is caused by the common cold or influenza. Although many people catch colds and suffer accompanying sore throats at some time during the season, children are especially susceptible.

Sore throats accompanying colds commonly last three to seven days. Self-care is usually all that is needed for a sore throat caused by a cold or flu virus. The following products have been introduced this season to hydrate, soothe, and numb sore throat discomfort.

Prestige Brands has introduced Chloraseptic Max Spray, a high concentration of pain reliever with a new targeted nozzle to reach the back of the throat. Active ingredients are phenol (oral anesthetic/analgesic) and glycerin (demulcent). Also new are Chloraseptic Max Lozenges with liquid centers; benzocaine (oral anesthetic/analgesic) is the active ingredient. Both products contain the maximum amount of pain reliever available without a prescription. Both are available in wild berry flavor.

Hyland's recently launched its new Cold Relief with Zinc 4 Kids. This product, in the form of an oral strip, uses zinc to shorten the duration of colds in combination with traditional homeopathic medications that treat sore throats. Cold Relief with Zinc 4 Kids can be used by children 2 and older, and it contains no aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, pseudoephedrine, or dextromethorphan.

Sucrets Ice is a new product category from Insight Pharmaceuticals with particular appeal for children. The fruit-flavored Ice (available in grape and pomegranate) is packaged in six single-use pouches that freeze in about an hour. The product tagline is "Just freeze it and squeeze it!" Designed for adults and children 3 and older, Sucrets Ice slowly melts in the mouth to relieve sore throats. Active ingredients include menthol, pectin, echinacea, and zinc. Insight says the familiar frozen formulation will be of particular interest to parents whose children choke on lozenges or who balk at syrups and sprays.

Another new sore throat treatment introduced this season is Deluxe Honeydrop, an organic flavored water infused with a drop of organic honey and "deluxe" premium juices. Among the reasons honey was chosen as the product's prime ingredient, according to David Luks, Honeydrop's founder and CEO, was that "studies suggest it may alleviate sore throats and coughs more effectively than most over-the-counter medicines." One of those studies was performed in 2007 by a research team at Penn State College of Medicine. The Honeydrop product has 20 grams of honey in each bottle, which is equivalent to 4.2 teaspoons of honey. It is available in apple, orange, chamomile, and blueberry flavors.

The new Halls Naturals from Cadbury Adams are available with a "soothing honey center." A company spokesperson emphasized that the cough drops are also good for sore throats.

Tylenol Warming Cough & Sore Throat Nighttime is another new self-care treatment for sore throats. Now in Honey Lemon Warming Liquid, its active ingredients are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine succinate. An adult product, it should not be used by children under 12.

Dana K. Cassell, a frequent contributor to Drug Topics, lives in North Stratford, New Hampshire.