The challenge of penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis: current antibiotic therapy in the 1990s

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Feb;24 Suppl 2:S213-21. doi: 10.1093/clinids/24.supplement_2.s213.


Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of neurological morbidity and mortality in both children and adults. With increasing antibiotic resistance in pneumococci and documented microbiological failure in treatment of pneumococcal meningitis with cefotaxime and ceftriaxone, the need for alternative antibiotic therapy is critical. Of the currently available options, vancomycin has shown the most promise, particularly when used in combination with ceftriaxone or cefotaxime. Rifampin, also used in combination with either ceftriaxone or cefotaxime, has demonstrated encouraging preliminary results against antibiotic-resistant pneumococci as well. Chloramphenicol has unexpectedly yielded discouraging clinical results in children with infection caused by penicillin-resistant strains. Of the investigational antibiotics currently in clinical trials for the treatment of meningitis, meropenem, a carbapenem-class antibiotic, has demonstrated increased activity against penicillin-resistant pneumococci compared with that of other beta-lactam antibiotics, while having a safety profile similar to that of the cephalosporins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloramphenicol / therapeutic use*
  • Clindamycin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactams
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Naphthyridines / therapeutic use*
  • Penicillin Resistance*
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use*
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae*
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Virginiamycin / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Lactams
  • Naphthyridines
  • Virginiamycin
  • quinupristin-dalfopristin
  • Clindamycin
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Vancomycin
  • trovafloxacin
  • Rifampin