The use of adjunctive corticosteroids in the treatment of pericardial, pleural and meningeal tuberculosis: do they improve outcome?

Respir Med. 2008 Jun;102(6):793-800. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.01.018. Epub 2008 Apr 14.


Tuberculosis remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity on a global scale. Effective anti-tuberculous chemotherapy has improved outcomes for individuals suffering from tuberculosis, although the disease often results in significant and permanent damage to organs. The use of adjunctive corticosteroid treatment has been studied with a view to demonstrating a reduction in inflammatory events that may improve outcomes for both mortality and morbidity. Cochrane reviews have summarized the evidence for adjunctive corticosteroids in the treatment of tuberculous pericarditis, meningitis and pleural effusion. These reviews have shown improved mortality for pericarditis and meningitis, but inconclusive effects for pericardial constriction and ongoing neurological disability. Rapid improvements in clinical parameters for pleural effusion were not supported by any lasting improved outcomes for these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Pericarditis, Tuberculous / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Pleural / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Glucocorticoids