Comparative efficacy of ceftriaxone and cefuroxime for treatment of bacterial meningitis.
To assess the comparative efficacy of cefuroxime and ceftriaxone for the treatment of bacterial meningitis, we reviewed the records from four prospective efficacy trials conducted at our institution. One hundred seventy-four infants and children received ceftriaxone and 159 received cefuroxime. The clinical characteristics of the two groups were comparable at admission. After 24 hours of therapy, routine cerebrospinal fluid cultures for all patients treated with ceftriaxone were sterile, whereas 9% of cerebrospinal fluid cultures were positive in cefuroxime-treated patients (p less than 0.001). More cefuroxime-treated patients had abnormal physical examinations at the time of discharge than did ceftriaxone-treated patients (39/159 vs 25/174, p = 0.02). At 6-week and 1-year follow-up examinations, there was no longer a statistically significant difference in the incidence of neurologic abnormalities between the two therapy groups, but the incidence of hearing impairment in one or both ears was higher in the cefuroxime (18%) than in the ceftriaxone (11%) treatment group. Both regimens are efficacious for the treatment of bacterial meningitis, but some patients may not respond as satisfactorily to cefuroxime as to ceftriaxone.