This trial is active, not recruiting.

Condition infant bacterial meningitis
Treatment ceftriaxone v penicillin and gentamicin
Phase phase 4
Sponsor University of Malawi College of Medicine
Start date April 2010
End date February 2015
Trial size 238 participants
Trial identifier NCT01247909, Infaseme


This study aims to improve the outcome of infants (<2 months) with severe sepsis and meningitis at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.

Currently WHO recommends the treatment of infant severe sepsis and bacterial meningitis with 14 to 21 day course of penicillin and gentamicin as first line. The second line treatment is cefotaxime or ceftriaxone.

Severe bacterial infections are common in infants under 2 months of age and the mortality is very high (~50%). There are several reasons for this; one is that the first line antibiotics used are no longer as effective as they used to be. Bacterial resistance to the first line antibiotics has increased and some infections especially of the central nervous system may only be partly treated and not eradicated by present therapy. First line treatment is cheap and available but requires 4 injections a day, for at least 14 days, a total of 58 injections. Many mothers find this number too much and abscond. The investigators second line therapy is ceftriaxone which is also available and cheap and the advantage of being given as a daily injection. The disadvantage is that it can cause (reversible) jaundice particularly in premature babies and it must not be given with calcium products. The investigators do not give calcium to the investigators infants as the investigators cannot routinely check electrolytes. All the most common causes of bacterial meningitis in this age group in the investigators setting are sensitive to ceftriaxone.

The investigators wish to undertake an open randomized trial of penicillin and gentamicin v ceftriaxone as first line treatment for infant meningitis. The investigators are able to monitor for side effects.

The investigators hypothesise that the ceftriaxone arm will have 20% less deaths that the penicillin and gentamicin group.

United States No locations recruiting
Other countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Allocation randomized
Endpoint classification safety/efficacy study
Intervention model parallel assignment
Masking open label
Primary purpose treatment
Ceftriaxone (one arm) v penicillin and gentamicin (second arm) in the treatment of infant meningitis
ceftriaxone v penicillin and gentamicin
Ceftriaxone v the standard treatment of infant meningitis (penicillin and gentamicin). Ceftriaxone will be given at a dose of 80mg/kg once a day for at least 14 days.

Primary Outcomes

Recovery v death or severe residual neurological sequelae at hospital discharge, 1 month and 6 months post discharge.
time frame: 3 years

Secondary Outcomes

Outcome by causative bacterial agent, recovery v death or severe residual neurological sequelae at hospital discharge, 1 month and 6 months post discharge.
time frame: 3 years

Eligibility Criteria

Male or female participants up to 2 months old.

Inclusion Criteria: - Children less than 2 months - Suspicion of bacterial meningitis - Parental/guardian informed consent Exclusion Criteria: - Infant with hyperbilirubinaemia - Infant requiring calcium - Infant know to be hypersensitive to any of the three drugs - Infant who has been an inpatient for more than 72 hours - Infant with congenital central nervous system abnormalities

Additional Information

Official title An Open Randomised Trial of Ceftriaxone v Penicillin and Gentamicin in Infant Severe Sepsis and Bacterial Meningitis in Malawi
Principal investigator Elizabeth Molyneux, FRCPCH
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in January 2014.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by University of Malawi College of Medicine.