Objective: Because exposure to streptococcal antigens might be a major disease activity-provoking factor in Behçet's disease, this study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of benzathine penicillin in the prophylaxis of recurrent arthritis episodes during the course of this disease.
Methods: A prospective, randomized study design was used to allocate patients to receive colchicine alone or colchicine plus benzathine penicillin for 24 months.
Results: The duration, severity, and pattern of arthritis episodes were found to be similar in the 2 treatment groups, but the number of arthritis episodes was significantly reduced, and the duration of episode-free time significantly prolonged, in the penicillin group compared with the colchicine-alone group.
Conclusion: Penicillin treatment was demonstrated to offer adjunctive benefits in the prevention of arthritis episodes which are not obtainable with colchicine monotherapy. This finding could provide additional evidence for antigen triggering in the pathogenesis of Behçet's disease.