Which medications in the drug class Corticosteroids are used in the treatment of Typhoid Fever?

Updated: Aug 19, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Dexamethasone may decrease the likelihood of mortality in severe typhoid fever cases complicated by delirium, obtundation, stupor, coma, or shock if bacterial meningitis has been definitively ruled out by cerebrospinal fluid studies. To date, the most systematic trial of this has been a randomized controlled study in patients aged 3-56 years with severe typhoid fever who were receiving chloramphenicol therapy. This study compared outcomes in 18 patients given placebo with outcomes in 20 patients given dexamethasone 3 mg/kg IV over 30 minutes followed by dexamethasone 1 mg/kg every 6 hours for 8 doses. The fatality rate in the dexamethasone arm was 10% versus 55.6% in the placebo arm (P =.003). [67]

Nonetheless, this point is still debated. A 2003 WHO statement endorsed the use of steroids as described above, but reviews by eminent authors in the New England Journal of Medicine (2002) [4] and the British Medical Journal (2006) [68] do not refer to steroids at all. A 1991 trial compared patients treated with 12 doses of dexamethasone 400 mg or 100 mg to a retrospective cohort in whom steroids were not administered. This trial found no difference in outcomes among the groups. [69]

The data are sparse, but the authors of this article agree with the WHO that dexamethasone should be used in cases of severe typhoid fever.

Dexamethasone (Decadron)

Prompt administration of high-dose dexamethasone reduces mortality in patients with severe typhoid fever without increasing incidence of complications, carrier states, or relapse among survivors.

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