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How Do Throat Lozenges Work?

May 2, 2022   Return

Strangely, the word lozenge is derived from an Old French word losenge, which is related to the Latin lausiae lapides or stone slabs. Well, now we know lozenges as medicinal tablets that are used to soothe sore throats!

Most of us are used to popping a lozenge in our mouth for that nagging pain in our throat. There are many types of lozenges on sale at supermarkets, pharmacies, and even at your neighbourhood convenience store. But how do you know which one works for you?

How do lozenges work?

Lozenges come in various colours, taste and with different ingredients to soothe sore throat. When you pop one into your mouth, the lozenge dissolves in your mouth slowly. This causes the active ingredients in the lozenge to be released.

The ingredients stimulate your salivary glands and cause it to produce saliva. Your saliva mixes with the ingredients and coats your throat lining.  A thickening agent, pectin is one such ingredient that can coat the throat like honey. This helps to reduce the pain, dryness and itchiness in your throat. 

Different types of lozenges

What make lozenges different from one another are the active ingredients. Some lozenges have natural ingredients in them. There are many types of natural ingredients like honey, lemon, peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus.

Honey and lemon are used to soothe your throat and reduce coughs due to irritated throat. Peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus help to loosen phlegm so you can cough it out easily. They also have a cool sensation on your throat.

Some lozenges have pain medication that brings the swelling down and gives instant pain relief. This helps to soothe the sore throat while the pain relief helps the sore throat to heal.

For really quick relief from pain, some lozenges contain local anaesthetics like lidocaine. So, when you pop lozenges of this type into your mouth, you will experience some numbness in your throat. You get the much-needed relief from pain.

Antibacterial medication may also be added to some lozenges. This type of lozenges helps to get rid of the germs that are causing the infection in your throat. But, antibacterial lozenges only work against bacteria and not virus.

You may have a sore throat due to a dry cough. There are lozenges that have antitussives or cough suppressants that may help to get rid of the cough.

You need to take one lozenge every 2-3 hours or as indicated on the lozenge package. If you have any doubts, do consult your pharmacist or doctor for further advice.

References: 1. The HealthSite. Available at 2. Choice. Available at

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