Corticosteroids given to children who are hospitalized for bacterial meningitis do not provide a benefit in survival or in reduced hospital stays, according to a large multicenter study by pediatric researchers. This finding stands in contrast to previous studies in hospitalized adults, for whom corticosteroids dramatically reduced mortality.
“Because of the demonstrated benefits of these drugs in adults, physicians have increasingly been using corticosteroids in children with bacterial meningitis,” said study leader Samir S. Shah, MD, an infectious diseases specialist from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This study reminds us again that children are not just small adults. We need to consider whether the problems associated with corticosteroid use, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, outweigh any potential benefits.”
He added that further research should analyze whether corticosteroids may provide other benefits to children, such as improved neurological outcomes among survivors, a question not considered in this study.
The study appears in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Release date: May 6, 2008
Source: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Filed Under: Drug Discovery