This paper on bacterial meningitis looks at aspects inherent in the aetiology and mechanisms underlying neurological damage and pharmacological treatment. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type b and Neisseria meningitidis are the pathogens most commonly responsible and are able to colonise the host's respiratory mucosae, invade the vascular space, cross the haematoliquoral barrier and survive in the cerebrospinal fluid. The presence of germs in the subarachnoid spaces leads to the onset of inflammation and neurological damage. The most often used pharmacological treatments include, apart from antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (although we have clinical data for corticosteroids only), pentoxyphillin and monoclonal antibodies. Initially empiric, antibiotic therapy is based on the use of drugs that act against the probable pathogenic agents, are capable of surmounting the haematoliquoral barrier and are well tolerated. Prior to the Eighties, the antibiotic of choice was ampicillin associated or otherwise with aminoglycosides. Subsequently, the availability of new drugs (cefotaxime and ceftriaxone) and the appearance of resistance led to changes in therapeutic protocols. Of the carbapenemics, wide spectrum antibiotics with high resistance to beta lactamase, imipenem/cilastatin proved effective although there was a high risk of inducing convulsions in patients with previous neurological damage or kidney failure. Meropenem was able to surmount the haematoliquoral barrier in sufficient concentrations and was well tolerated in patients with prior neurological changes. It has proved effective in clinical studies carried out up to the present.
|Translated title of the contribution||Current problems in the treatment of bacterial meningitis|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health