Steroid therapy for bacterial meningitis

Urs B. Schaad, Sheldon L. Kaplan, George H. McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Routine dexamethasone therapy for bacterial meningitis in pediatric patients is controversial. Two experts debated this topic at the 1993 meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Both experts agreed that for management of Haemophilus influenzae meningitis, dexamethasone significantly reduced sensorineural hearing loss and probably reduced other long-term sequelae. Because relatively few patients with pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis have been studied, no conclusions could be reached regarding the effectiveness of dexamethasone. Dr. Urs Schaad emphasized the impressive anti-inflammatory effects of dexamethasone in experimental pneumococcal meningitis and the lack of any adverse events when given to children for 2 or 4 days. He recommended routine use of dexamethasone in treating pediatric patients with bacterial meningitis. Dr. Sheldon Kaplan expressed concern regarding the effectiveness of steroids in treating pneumococcal meningitis, especially when penicillin resistant and cephalosporin-resistant isolates are present, and he addressed the question of the long-term effects of administration of dexamethasone in children with viral meningitis. He advised against the routine use of dexamethasone for non-H. influenzae meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-690
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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