We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Can antibiotics help psoriatic arthritis?

Q) I have psoriatic arthropathy and some osteoarthritis. Mostly my back and legs are affected and recently I've been in severe pain. No drugs have brought much relief. Then I had a particularly bad attack of tonsillitis/quinsy and have had two courses of penicillin. By the second week the pain in my back and legs was reducing, and I was moving around much more freely. Now the pain has all but gone, and apart from what I call the usual twinges and some slight pain from time to time I'm back to where I was 12 months ago. Is there any connection or is this part of the pattern of flare-ups that occur?
Cherry Protheroe, Bedford, Bedfordshire (Spring 2006)

A) It's always fascinating to hear of cases like this. I recently had a patient with psoriatic arthritis who was ‘cured’ after being stung by a scorpion in Thailand! In fact, an old medical almanac of folk cures for arthritis recommends: ‘arrange to be stung by bees’. So, stings, bites and infections, or the treatment of infections, have been associated with cures. In fact, one of the theories as to why psoriatic arthritis starts suggests that bacteria found in the psoriatic skin lesions trigger the joint pains. If this is so, then a course of antibiotics, which would (temporarily) kill all the bacteria, might also help the arthritis but not permanently.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

More Information Close
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.