Neonatal meningitis is a common cause of death and long-term disability among children, particularly in developing countries
Review question: Does use of adjuvant corticosteroids in neonates with bacterial meningitis reduce the risk of death and the possibility of neurodevelopmental sequelae?
Background: Neonatal meningitis is a common cause of death and long-term disability among children everywhere, particularly in developing countries. In this review, we investigated the benefits and safety of adjunctive corticosteroids in the treatment of neonatal meningitis.
Study characteristics: We identified two studies for inclusion.
Results: We found that giving steroids to babies affected with meningitis may reduce the number of children who would die or become deaf from the disease. However, most of this benefit was observed in only one trial. As of now, it appears as though steroids are not helpful with regard to preventing developmental delay. We are not able to make far reaching conclusions at this time, as the evidence that we found is limited and of low quality and could change if more results from larger and better designed studies become available.
This research is supported by the Department for International Development’s Evidence Building and Synthesis Research Programme which is led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Ogunlesi, T.A.; Odigwe, C.C.; Oladapo, O.T. Adjuvant corticosteroids for reducing death in neonatal bacterial meningitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2015) Issue 11, Art. No.: CD010435. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010435.pub2]