Medicines to treat pressure on the brain caused by meningitis

Medicines used to treat pressure on the brain caused by meningitis include:

  • Dexamethasone.
  • Mannitol (Osmitrol).

These medicines reduce swelling (inflammation) in the brain tissues, which may lower the risk of developing short-term complications such as seizures and long-term complications such as hearing loss.

Taking dexamethasone along with the first course of antibiotics is recommended for adults with pneumococcal meningitis.1, 2 It has been shown to lower the chance of disability and death.

Some side effects that can occur from these medicines include nausea and stomach discomfort, drowsiness or trouble sleeping, mood swings, and ringing in the ears.

Citations

  1. Tunkel AR, Scheld WM (2005). Acute meningitis. In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., pp. 1083–1126. Philadelphia: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Hirschmann JV (2006). Bacterial infections of the central nervous system. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 7, chap. 36. New York: WebMD.

Last Updated: December 24, 2008

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