Adjuvant corticosteroids for reducing death in neonatal bacterial meningitis


Tinuade A Ogunlesi1, Chibuzo C Odigwe2, Olufemi T Oladapo3

1. Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Department of Paediatrics (Neonatal Unit), Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
2. St Joseph Hospital, Department of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
3. World Health Organization, UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Geneva, Switzerland

Ogunlesi TA, Odigwe CC, Oladapo OT. 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.

To read the full review please follow this link: DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010435.pub2

Review question

Does use of adjuvant corticosteriods in neonates with bacterial meningitis reduce the risk of dealth and the possibility of neurodevelopmental sequelae?


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.


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.