Researchers studied 300 people with pneumoccocal meningitis treated with IV dexamethasone with or before a first dose of antibiotic. They compared the outcomes with those of 349 people not given dexamethasone.
The researchers found that the risk of death among those given dexamethasone was 10 per cent lower than in those not given the treatment. Rates of hearing loss were also around 10 per cent lower.
The researchers said the findings should feed the debate about the use of IV dexamethasone in meningitis.
'Our results provide valuable evidence suggesting that dexamethasone is effective in adult bacterial meningitis and should continue to be used,' they added.