Meningitis - Management - Bacterial Meningitis - Antibiotics

Antibiotics

Empiric antibiotics (treatment without exact diagnosis) should be started immediately, even before the results of the lumbar puncture and CSF analysis are known. The choice of initial treatment depends largely on the kind of bacteria that cause meningitis in a particular place and population. For instance, in the United Kingdom empirical treatment consists of a third-generation cefalosporin such as cefotaxime or ceftriaxone. In the USA, where resistance to cefalosporins is increasingly found in streptococci, addition of vancomycin to the initial treatment is recommended. Chloramphenicol, either alone or in combination with ampicillin, however, appears to work equally well.

Empirical therapy may be chosen on the basis of the person's age, whether the infection was preceded by a head injury, whether the person has undergone recent neurosurgery and whether or not a cerebral shunt is present. In young children and those over 50 years of age, as well as those who are immunocompromised, the addition of ampicillin is recommended to cover Listeria monocytogenes. Once the Gram stain results become available, and the broad type of bacterial cause is known, it may be possible to change the antibiotics to those likely to deal with the presumed group of pathogens. The results of the CSF culture generally take longer to become available (24–48 hours). Once they do, empiric therapy may be switched to specific antibiotic therapy targeted to the specific causative organism and its sensitivities to antibiotics. For an antibiotic to be effective in meningitis it must not only be active against the pathogenic bacterium but also reach the meninges in adequate quantities; some antibiotics have inadequate penetrance and therefore have little use in meningitis. Most of the antibiotics used in meningitis have not been tested directly on people with meningitis in clinical trials. Rather, the relevant knowledge has mostly derived from laboratory studies in rabbits. Tuberculous meningitis requires prolonged treatment with antibiotics. While tuberculosis of the lungs is typically treated for six months, those with tuberculous meningitis are typically treated for a year or longer.

Read more about this topic:  Meningitis, Management, Bacterial Meningitis

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Famous quotes containing the word antibiotics:

    Even diseases have lost their prestige, there aren’t so many of them left.... Think it over ... no more syphilis, no more clap, no more typhoid ... antibiotics have taken half the tragedy out of medicine.
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894–1961)