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If ever I get a cold, it always starts with a sore throat. The last cold I had gave me an especially painful one so I asked my boyfriend to find me something at the pharmacy that may help. I don't really like taking most sore throat pastilles or lozenges because I find that they often make me feel nauseous after I have taken just 1 or 2. So I asked him for something that wasn't Lockets, Tunes or Soothers. He came back with Beechams Max Strength Sore Throat Relief Lozenges in the blackberry flavour, not from the chemist, but from Poundland. So did they actually help?
WHAT THEY CLAIM TO DO - AND WHO THEY ARE AIMED AT
The lozenges have 2 active ingredients. Hexylresorcinol is an anaesthetic which is supposed to numb the pain. It is also said to have anti-bacterial properties. Benzalkonium chloride is the second active ingredient and it is also described as an anti-bacterial agent. They don't claim to deal with any other cold symptoms such as a blocked nose. The lozenges are suitable for children over 7 years of age. They are not suitable for anyone with sugar absorption problems, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to consult a doctor before consuming these.
CONSUMING THE LOZENGES
They come packaged in a foil and plastic blister pack, inside a small cardboard box. I prefer this style of packet, as each lozenge is sealed in it's own little bubble. This keeps each one fresher and less sticky than the sort that are just wrapped in paper. It also means it is easier to keep unused ones back ready for the next cold, subject to the use-by date of course! Each lozenge pops out of it's foil easily. It looks like a small round boiled sweet, so it is definitely something to keep away from children. It smells more of blackcurrant than blackberry to me, but not too medicinal which I think helped me to find these less sickly than others I have tried. You are supposed to let each one dissolve slowly in the mouth, which does take some time. It was therefore important that I could bear the taste. The flavour, like the smell, really does remind me more of blackcurrant, but it is pleasant enough and not too strong.
DO THEY WORK?
I didn't experience any relief to my throat whilst sucking at first, but I thought they may need some time to work so I waited. By the time it had completely dissolved, my throat did feel better. The pain wasn't gone, but it was considerably diminished. I found it easier and more comfortable to swallow too. Sadly, these two effects lasted a very short time. Within an hour the soreness had returned to it's full strength. As these are a medicated product, there is a maximum number of lozenges you can take in 24 hours - 8 in this case. The dosage for adults and children over 12 years is once every 3 hours or as needed, subject to this maximum. This wasn't often enough for me, as the effects wore off long before 3 hours were up and I would have exceeded the maximum dose if I took them "as needed". In some cases I felt the numbing of my throat lasted just 30 minutes. I had to switch to a different product whose effects lasted longer for me. [I tried Boots own brand tablets and they were better by far.]
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
If you have a bad sore throat, I think a lozenge that lasts longer or that can be taken more frequently would suit you better. I would say that these are perhaps O.K for a milder pain except for the fact these are called "max strength" for sore throats. They do not seem any better than regular lozenges to me, so they don't seem worth paying more for. As my boyfriend paid just £1 for a packet of 20, we did not waste a great deal of money, but I am aware that these will probably be more expensive to buy in a chemist. It is a shame because they taste pleasant and didn't leave me feeling sick. Not recommended!