Treatment of psoriasis in children: is there a role for antibiotic therapy and tonsillectomy?

Pediatr Dermatol. 2003 Jan-Feb;20(1):11-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1470.2003.03003.x.


Numerous studies implicate subclinical or recurrent streptococcal infection as a trigger or maintenance factor in the pathogenesis of psoriasis in children. The purpose of this article is to review the efficacy of antibiotic therapy and tonsillectomy as treatments for childhood psoriasis. Clinical trials assessing the efficacy of antibiotics or tonsillectomy as treatments for childhood psoriasis were identified with a search of the medical literature and the results were compared. Only one controlled clinical trial was identified and it did not find a significant effect of antibiotic treatment on psoriasis. In other studies, the percentage of psoriasis patients who experienced disease clearance with antibiotic therapy ranged from 0% to 55%, with no patients experiencing disease worsening during treatment. No controlled trials of tonsillectomy for psoriasis were identified. The percentage of patients who experienced disease clearance after tonsillectomy in uncontrolled trials ranged from 32% to 53% and a similar percentage reported significant improvement in their psoriasis, with a maximum of 7% noting worsening of the disease after the operation. The available evidence does not demonstrate the efficacy of either antibiotic therapy or tonsillectomy in the treatment of childhood psoriasis. Because these treatments are relatively benign compared to other treatments for severe psoriasis, the use of antibiotic therapy or tonsillectomy may still be worth considering, especially for those patients with recurrent streptococcal infections that seem to trigger or maintain their skin disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy*
  • Tonsillectomy / methods
  • Tonsillitis / complications
  • Tonsillitis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents