According to a new study it is observed that a drug used to treat inflammation can have good effects for adults diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Dexamethasone is an effective steroid when given with antibiotics for these patients. The death rate among adults diagnosed with bacterial meningitis is high, especially in patients who also have pneumonia. Researchers from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam conducted a study to determine if treatment with a corticosteroid could be beneficial for patients. Research has shown it is beneficial in animals with bacterial meningitis.
The study included 250 patients who were either given dexamethasone or placebo 15 to 20 minutes before, or with the first dose of antibiotics, and received it every six hours for four days. Patients were then followed to see how they recovered.
Researchers say 150 patients received the dexamethasone and 142 patients received a placebo. Researchers report the group receiving the steroid had better outcomes and a lower risk of death. Among the patients with pneumonia, 22 percent in the dexamethasone group died compared to 50 percent in the placebo group. As for side effects, gastrointestinal bleeding occurred in two patients in the steroid group and five patients in the placebo group.
Researchers conclude early treatment with dexamethasone improves the outcome in adults with acute bacterial meningitis. Furthermore, researchers say the drug does not increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.