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Ann Rheum Dis. 2000 Jul;59(7):565-70.

Effect of a three month course of ciprofloxacin on the outcome of reactive arthritis.

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Department of Medicine, Turku University, Finland.



Treatment of reactive arthritis (ReA) with antibiotics has so far remained controversial. Eradication of the causative microbe appears logical, but short term antibiotic treatment has no beneficial effect on the outcome of ReA.


To evaluate the effect of a three month course of ciprofloxacin on ReA.


In a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial, between December 1992 and February 1996, 71 patients with acute ReA triggered by a gastrointestinal or a urogenital infection were randomly assigned to receive ciprofloxacin 500 mg or placebo twice daily for three months. Patients were assessed at study entry, at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. Sixty two patients were valid for the efficacy analysis. The primary outcome measures were erythrocyte sedimentation rate, number of swollen joints, patients self assessment, and complete recovery.


Adverse events were mostly mild and occurred in both treatment groups. There were no statistically significant differences in any of the primary or secondary efficacy variables between the study groups at baseline or during the 12 month follow up. All primary outcome measures indicated that the condition of the patients improved during the study.


Both groups tended to recover. Ciprofloxacin, given as a three month course, had no advantage over placebo treatment.

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