Doctors do not typically prescribe antibiotics to treat guttate psoriasis. However, they may use antibiotics to treat strep throat or bacterial infections, which can trigger guttate psoriasis.

Guttate psoriasis accounts for less than 30% of psoriasis cases. It typically presents as raised, itchy, and scaly spots.

Guttate psoriasis can occur following strep throat and other infections. Symptoms typically start to show 1–3 weeks after the infection starts.

Doctors may treat infections with a course of antibiotics. However, topical steroids are the first-line treatment for guttate psoriasis lesions.

This article explains why antibiotics are not a typical treatment option for guttate psoriasis, more common treatment options, and the outlook for people with this condition.

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Strep throat and upper respiratory infections can trigger guttate psoriasis. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics, such as penicillin, to treat strep throat.

However, a 2019 review found no evidence that antibiotics effectively treat guttate psoriasis or prevent flare-ups of the condition following strep throat.

Over-prescribing antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which makes these drugs less effective and causes avoidable side effects.

Since evidence suggests antibiotics do not treat guttate psoriasis, doctors may only prescribe them to treat an underlying infection, such as strep throat.

Topical medicines, such as corticosteroids, are the primary treatment for guttate psoriasis. Doctors may prescribe the following types of topical treatments for mild psoriasis:

A person’s treatment plan may depend on their medical history and the severity of their symptoms. For more severe cases of psoriasis, doctors may recommend the following treatment options.

Ultraviolet light therapy

Ultraviolet light therapy, or phototherapy, may be a sole treatment or part of a combination treatment for moderate to severe guttate psoriasis.

Light therapy for psoriasis works by shining UV light on the skin, which can reduce the size, itchiness, and appearance of the lesions.

Oral treatments

Oral medications aim to correct the immune response that causes inflammation in psoriasis.

Doctors may prescribe oral treatments for people with moderate to severe guttate psoriasis that does not respond to topical medications or UV light therapy.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) lists the following medications as oral treatment options for psoriasis:

  • methotrexate, which comes in pill and liquid forms
  • cyclosporine, a fast-acting treatment for guttate psoriasis
  • apremilast, a newer medication that may reduce symptoms such as itchiness


Biologics are a standard treatment option for plaque psoriasis, though less research is available about biologics for guttate psoriasis.

This treatment works by blocking specific steps in the immune pathway that cause inflammation.

A 2020 case study suggests that short courses of biologic treatments may help people with guttate psoriasis to achieve remission, in which a person has no psoriasis symptoms.

The AAD suggests psoriasis treatment is typically an ongoing process. Some people may achieve remission, which often lasts up to 12 months.

However, psoriasis triggers may cause a flare, even after treatment has eliminated all lesions.

Psoriasis can be unpredictable. However, scheduling regular appointments with a healthcare professional and following a personalized treatment plan can help control the condition.

If someone notices red, pink, violet, or brown scaly spots and patches on the skin, they need to speak with a doctor. These spots might be scaly or itchy and may not be uniform in size.

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat any underlying infections that are present, such as strep throat. However, no research suggests that antibiotics can cure guttate psoriasis.

A doctor can diagnose and treat guttate psoriasis effectively with various options, including topical medications, phototherapy, and oral treatments.

If an active infection triggers guttate psoriasis, doctors may use antibiotics to treat the infection. However, the condition may persist even after treating the infection, and people may develop other types of psoriasis.

Research suggests that 40% of people with guttate psoriasis develop plaque psoriasis.

Guttate psoriasis can develop from an infection, such as strep throat. Doctors may use antibiotics to treat any underlying infections, but research does not suggest antibiotics are effective against psoriasis.

Instead, doctors may prescribe topical medications, phototherapy, and oral medications to treat guttate psoriasis.

Treatment is typically an ongoing process, and the condition may develop into other forms of psoriasis over time.