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

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The use of steroids has been shown to improve overall outcome for patients with certain types of bacterial meningitis, such as H influenzae, tuberculous, and pneumococcal meningitis. If steroids are given, they should be administered before or during the administration of antimicrobial therapy.

Dexamethasone (Baycadron)

Dexamethasone has many pharmacologic benefits, such as stabilizing cell and lysosomal membranes. It increases surfactant synthesis, increases serum vitamin A concentrations, and inhibits prostaglandin and proinflammatory cytokines (eg, tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], interleukin [IL]-6, IL-2, and interferon gamma).

The timing of dexamethasone administration is crucial. If this agent is used, it should be administered before or with the first dose of antibacterial therapy, so as to counteract the initial inflammatory burst consequent to antibiotic-mediated bacterial killing. A more intense inflammatory reaction has been documented after the massive bacterial killing induced by antibiotics.

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