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Effect of a three month course of ciprofloxacin on the late prognosis of reactive arthritis
  1. T Yli-Kerttula1,
  2. R Luukkainen3,
  3. U Yli-Kerttula4,
  4. T Möttönen1,
  5. M Hakola5,
  6. M Korpela4,
  7. M Sanila3,
  8. J Uksila2,
  9. A Toivanen1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Turku University, Satalinna Hospital, Finland
  2. 2Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Satalinna Hospital, Finland
  3. 3Turku University, Satalinna Hospital, Finland
  4. 4Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Tampere University Hospital, Finland
  5. 5Jyväskylä Central Hospital (M Hakola), Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr T Yli-Kerttula, Department of Medicine, Turku University, Kiinamyllynkatu 4–8, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland;


Background: The value of antibiotics in the treatment of reactive arthritis (ReA) is still controversial.

Objectives: To analyse the long term outcome of patients with ReA, treated with a three month course of ciprofloxacin or placebo.

Methods: Patients who had had ReA and had participated in a double blind, placebo controlled trial on the effectiveness of ciprofloxacin 4–7 years earlier were invited to a clinical examination. Of the 71 patients who were included in the original study, 53 agreed to visit the clinic for an examination. Twenty six of 53 patients had originally received ciprofloxacin and 27 had belonged to the placebo group. Of these, 20 in the ciprofloxacin and 25 in the placebo group were HLA-B27 positive.

Results: 11/27 (41%) patients in the original placebo group had now developed chronic rheumatic disease, as compared with only 2/26 (8%) patients originally treated with ciprofloxacin (p=0.006). Two patients who originally had received placebo, none in the ciprofloxacin group had developed ankylosing spondylitis, and three patients in the original placebo group, none in the ciprofloxacin group had recurrent anterior uveitis. The same tendency was seen when several different measures were analysed. Of the patients with chronic spondyloarthropathy, 10 in the placebo and none in the ciprofloxacin group were HLA-B27 positive.

Conclusion: Analysis 4–7 years after the initial ReA suggests that a three month course of antibiotics in the acute phase may have a beneficial effect on the long term prognosis.

  • reactive arthritis
  • spondyloarthropathy
  • HLA-B27
  • ciprofloxacin
  • AS, ankylosing spondylitis
  • CRP, C reactive protein
  • ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • IBD, inflammatory bowel disease
  • IBP, inflammatory back pain
  • IQR, interquartile range
  • ReA, reactive arthritis
  • SpA, spondyloarthropathy

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  • All the authors contributed to the design, analysis, and writing of the report. Professor Auli Toivanen was the principal investigator. Clinical assessments of the patients were performed by Timo Yli-Kerttula, Reijo Luukkainen, Urpo Yli-Kerttula, Mikko Hakola, Markku Korpela, and Markku Sanila. Jaakko Uksila carried out the serum antibody determinations. Data collection was made by Timo Yli-Kerttula. Statistical analysis was performed by Timo Möttönen and Timo Yli-Kerttula.