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Ann Trop Paediatr. 1988 Dec;8(4):225-9.

Cefotaxime versus penicillin-chloramphenicol in purulent meningitis: a controlled single-blind clinical trial.

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R.K. Khan Hospital, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.


In a prospective, controlled, randomized single-blind clinical trial, treatment with cefotaxime (CTX) was compared with that with standard therapy (ST), which consisted of a penicillin-chloramphenicol combination with or without sulphadiazine, in 31 patients (excluding neonates) with proven bacterial meningitis. The two groups of patients were comparable in age, sex, clinical presentation and causative pathogens. The case fatality rate was 12.5% for the CTX group and 20% for the ST group, but this difference was not significant. The times taken for the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to become sterile and the temperature to normalize, the mean duration of treatment, complications and adverse effects were similar for the two regimens. Neurological or developmental abnormalities on follow-up were not significantly different for the two groups. It is concluded that CTX is a suitable alternative for treatment of bacterial meningitis in infants and children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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