Acute Laryngitis Follow-up

Updated: Oct 12, 2017
  • Author: Rahul K Shah, MD, FACS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Follow-up

Further Outpatient Care

If the patient's laryngitis symptoms have not resolved after approximately 3 weeks, an otolaryngologist should be consulted to evaluate the patient for chronic laryngitis. A patient who has hoarseness and is not following a usual course of acute laryngitis or has risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract carcinoma should be promptly seen by an otolaryngologist.

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Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

In addition to conservative treatment of an upper respiratory tract infection and humidification of the airway with vocal rest, antipyretics and decongestants may be administered for the patient's comfort. Mucolytics such as guaifenesin may be used to aid in clearing secretions.

An excellent systematic review attempted to answer the question of whether antibiotics were recommended in cases of acute laryngitis. The authors cite 2 studies by the same research group. In one study, patients received either penicillin V (800 mg for 5 d) or placebo. The 2 groups showed no significant difference in symptoms or blinded voice evaluation findings. The research group published a second study in which erythromycin was administered. Those who received erythromycin showed a small voice benefit after one week and slightly better cough symptoms after 2 weeks. The overall conclusion from the Cochrane Database Systematic Review was that antibiotics are not indicated for most cases of acute laryngitis. [15, 18]

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Prognosis

Acute laryngitis is usually self-limited. If the patient adheres to a treatment plan as outlined above, the prognosis for a rapid recovery to a premorbid level of phonation is excellent.

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Patient Education

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's Ear, Nose & Throat Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Laryngitis.

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