Meningitis Home > Meningitis Treatment

Because meningitis can cause serious damage in a short amount of time, anyone suspected of having meningitis should get immediate treatment. For bacterial meningitis, strong doses of intravenous antibiotics are required. Viruses cannot be killed by antibiotics, so most treatment for viral meningitis does not involve medications to kill the virus. Depending on the source of infection, infected sinuses may need to be drained as part of treatment.

An Overview of Meningitis Treatment

People who are suspected of having meningitis should receive immediate, aggressive treatment. This disease can progress quickly, and it has the potential to cause severe, irreversible neurological damage.

Treating Bacterial Meningitis

Early treatment for bacterial meningitis is important for people with the disease. Bacterial meningitis treatment involves strong doses of intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics may also be given to prevent other bacterial infections.
Corticosteroids such as prednisone may be used to relieve brain pressure and swelling, and to prevent hearing loss that is common in patients with Haemophilus influenzae meningitis. Pain medicine and sedatives may be given to make patients more comfortable.


Depending on the source of infection, infected sinuses may need to be drained as part of treating meningitis.
Appropriate treatment for most types of meningitis can reduce the risk of dying from the disease to below 15 percent.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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