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Is honey an effective adjunct to conventional analgesic agents for children post-tonsillectomy?
  1. Viktorija Kaminskaite1,
  2. Shruthi Mankal1,
  3. Helena Wilson2
  1. 1 University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK
  2. 2 ENT, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, UK
  1. Correspondence to Shruthi Mankal, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter EX1 2HZ, UK; sm811{at}

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An 8-year-old boy is undergoing a tonsillectomy due to recurrent bacterial tonsillitis. The procedure goes well with no immediate postoperative complications, and it is decided to keep him for observations overnight. During the morning ward round, the boy is reviewed by an ear, nose and throat consultant who is happy for him to be discharged with simple pain relief paracetamol and benzydamine spray (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) spray). The parents ask whether there is anything they can do at home to help with pain relief, apart from medications. The mother has heard that honey might be helpful with pain relief. You wonder what the role of honey is as an adjunct in post-tonsillectomy pain management.

Structured clinical question

In a child who has just undergone a tonsillectomy (patient), does the ingestion or oral application of honey (intervention) compared with no honey (comparison) effectively provide pain relief when added as an adjunct to conventional analgesic agents (outcome)?


All searches were performed on 23 January 2022. Inclusion criteria were full articles, written in English, whereby the use of honey was compared with the use of no honey in children post-tonsillectomy. Case reports and small case series were excluded.

Cochrane library

Search: ‘honey’ and ‘tonsillectomy’ and ‘children’.

This search produced 12 results, all of which were relevant and selected for full-text screening.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evidence search

Search: pain relief honey tonsillectomy.

This search produced two results, none of which were relevant to the question.


Search: ((child*[Title/Abstract]) OR paediatric[Title/Abstract]) AND (tonsillectomy[Title/Abstract] OR adenotonsillectomy[Title/Abstract])) AND (honey[Title/Abstract])

This search produced 10 results, of which 4 were selected for full-text screening. Overall, this yielded four studies that were relevant to the question.

After screening the searches, 16 articles were selected for full-text reading and 6 were included in this article as they were relevant to the question and scenario.


Despite a decline in occurrence, tonsillectomy remains …

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  • VK and SM are joint first authors.

  • Twitter @Viktorija__K

  • Contributors VK, SM and HW decided to pursue this specific topic area. VK and SM were equally responsible for the researching, writing and editing, therefore VK and SM are first coauthors. HW contributed her expertise and was involved in the editing process.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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