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April 13, 1984

Penicillin in the Treatment of Meningitis

Author Affiliations

U.S.N.R.; U.S.N.R. Great Lakes, Ill.

JAMA. 1984;251(14):1870-1876. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340380052025

Reports in the literature pertaining to the clinical effects of penicillin in the treatment of meningitis have in general been confined to observations on small groups of patients or on isolated cases.1 No definite conclusions may be drawn from them concerning the efficacy of penicillin, the most satisfactory method of treatment or the minimum adequate dosage requirements. However, from in vitro studies demonstrating the pronounced sensitivity of the meningococcus, Streptococcus haemolyticus, pneumococcus and some strains of Streptococcus viridans to the action of penicillin, this agent should prove to be of considerable therapeutic value in the management of such infections, particularly in individuals who are sulfonamide resistant or sulfonamide reactors.

In a preliminary report2 on 31 patients with cerebrospinal fever, we recorded 30 recoveries following the combined intrathecal and intravenous or intramuscular use of penicillin and concluded that penicillin is a safe, effective and highly potent agent in the