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Am J Med. 1985 Aug 9;79(2A):56-61.

Role of cephalosporins in the treatment of bacterial meningitis in adults. Overview with special emphasis on ceftazidime.


Experience with the use of first-generation cephalosporins in bacterial meningitis has been disappointing; low concentrations were obtained in the cerebrospinal fluid, and therapeutic failures were encountered. Of the second-generation cephalosporins cefamandole, cefuroxime, and cefoxitin, only cefuroxime has proved efficacy in meningitis caused by meningococci, pneumococci, or Hemophilus influenzae. The third-generation cephalosporins offer new advantages in the treatment of meningitis because they are active at the cerebrospinal fluid concentrations obtainable. Cefotaxime has produced high cure rates in patients with meningitis caused by meningococci, pneumococci, or H. influenzae. Several controlled comparative studies indicate that ceftriaxone is as effective as conventional treatment in therapy for neonatal or childhood meningitis caused by Streptococcus agalactiae, Escherichia coli, or H. influenzae. Moxalactam has been found in uncontrolled studies to be effective when the cause was enteric gram-negative bacilli. Ceftazidime is a new cephalosporin with a high degree of beta-lactamase stability and a broad antibacterial spectrum, which includes Pseudomonas aeruginosa that enters the cerebrospinal fluid. Data from 29 patients who received ceftazidime as monotherapy for bacterial meningitis showed an overall cure or improvement rate of 75.9 percent. Therapy failed in three patients with meningitis caused by gram-positive organisms (Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, S. agalactiae), and in three with gram-negative organisms. Of 14 patients with Pseudomonas meningitis, 11 showed a cure, as did six of six patients with meningitis caused by Enterobacter, Serratia, or Acinetobacter. More, preferably controlled, studies of the efficacy of ceftazidime in the treatment of meningitis should be undertaken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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