Treatment for Meningitis

Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important that treatment be started early in the course of the disease. If bacterial meningitis is suspected, initial treatment with ceftriaxone and vancomycin is recommended.

Appropriate antibiotic treatment of the most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk of dying from meningitis to below 15%, although the risk is higher among the elderly.

Viral Meningitis

There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis. Antibiotics do not help viral infections, so they are not useful in the treatment of viral meningitis. Most patients completely recover on their own within 7 to 10 days. A hospital stay may be necessary in more severe cases or for people with weak immune systems.

Fungal Meningitis

Fungal meningitis is treated with long courses of high dose anti fungal medications. This is usually given using an IV line and is done in the hospital. The length of treatment depends on the status of the immune system and the type of fungus that caused the infection.

For people with immune systems that do not function well because of other conditions, like AIDS, diabetes, or cancer, there is often a need for longer treatment.