October 1, 2010

New IV Treatment For Bacterial Meningitis

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- IV treatment for patients with bacterial meningitis may decrease a person's risk of dying, a new study says.

Bacterial Meningitis is a condition that causes membranes in the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. It can be deadly, or result in hearing loss, brain damage and learning disabilities. It's estimated that more than 30 percent of people die from it each year. But now researchers are evaluating an IV treatment that may help patients with meningitis fight back.

Researchers with the Academic Medical Center at University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands evaluated 357 Dutch people ages 16 or older. Of those, 84 percent were given the drug dexamethasone through an IV. They were assessed on a rating scale of one to five and the score was given as followed: one was given for death, two for coma, three for severe disability, four for moderate disability and five for mild or no disability.

The study found that the rate of death for those who were given the drug was 10 percent lower than those in early study group. The rates of hearing loss were also nearly 10 percent lower for those in the later study group.

"Using this treatment in people infected with meningitis has been under debate because in a few large studies it was shown to be ineffective," study author Diederik van de Beek, MD, PhD, with the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a member of the American Academy of Neurology was quoted saying. "Our results provide valuable evidence suggesting that dexamethasone is effective in adult cases of bacterial meningitis and should continue to be used."

SOURCE:  Medical Journal of The American Academy of Neurology, September 2010.