Past and current roles for cephalosporin antibiotics in treatment of meningitis. Emphasis on use in gram-negative bacillary meningitis

Am J Med. 1981 Oct;71(4):693-703. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(81)90240-0.


The therapy of gram-negative bacillary meningitis is less than adequate to date; the agents recommended do not achieve bactericidal levels in purulent cerebrospinal fluid. Because optimal antibiotic therapy of meningitis occurs when the cerebrospinal fluid level of an antibiotic is above the concentration needed to kill the offending pathogen, another group of agents needs to be considered. The newer cephalosporins or cehalosporin-type antibiotics (cefotaxime, moxalactam), by virtue of their marked activity against gram-negative bacilli and their ability to achieve significant CSF levels, merit serious consideration as therapy for gram-negative bacillary meningitis. Investigators in Europe and the United States have developed preliminary data demonstrating the efficacy of these agents in a growing number of cases. In the group presented herein, of the 35 cases in which gram-negative bacillary meningitis was treated with the newer cephalosporins, there were only four failures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Cefamandole / therapeutic use
  • Cefotaxime / therapeutic use
  • Cefoxitin / therapeutic use
  • Cephaloridine / therapeutic use
  • Cephalosporins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Cephalothin / therapeutic use
  • Cephamycins / therapeutic use
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enterobacteriaceae / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meningitis / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Moxalactam
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects


  • Cephalosporins
  • Cephamycins
  • Cefamandole
  • Cefoxitin
  • Cephaloridine
  • Cefotaxime
  • Cephalothin
  • Moxalactam