Current Infectious Disease Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 232–235

Penicillin Failure in the Treatment of Streptococcal Pharyngo-Tonsillitis

Pediatric Infectious Diseases (I Brook, Section Editor)


The inadequate penetration of penicillins into the tonsillar tissues and tonsillar surface fluid and microbiologic interactions between Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS) and other pharyngo-tonsillar bacterial flora can account for their failure in eradicating GABHS pharyngo-tonsillitis (PT). These interactions include the presence of beta-lactamase producing bacteria (BLPB) that “shield” GABHS from penicillins, the absence of bacteria that interfere with the growth of GABHS, and the coaggregation between GABHS and Moraxella catarrhalis. In the treatment of acute tonsillitis, the use of cephalosporins can overcome these interactions by eradicating aerobic BLPB, while preserving the potentially interfering organisms and eliminating GABHS. In treatment of recurrent and chronic PT, the administration of clindamycin or amoxicillin-clavulanatecan eradicates both aerobic and anaerobic BLPB, as well as GABHS.


Tonsillitis Group A streptococci Penicillin Interference Cephalosporins Clindamycin Beta-lactamase 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics and MedicineGeorgetown University School of MedicineWashingtonUSA

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