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Meningitis is occasionally caused by noninfectious conditions (eg, noninfectious disorders, drugs, vaccines). Many cases of noninfectious meningitis are subacute or chronic (see Subacute and Chronic Meningitis).
Some Noninfectious Causes of Meningitis
Noninfectious meningitis causes symptoms (eg, headache, fever, nuchal rigidity) that are similar to those caused by other kinds of meningitis. Severity and acuity can vary, but noninfectious meningitis tends to be less severe than acute bacterial meningitis.
Diagnosis is based on analysis of CSF obtained by lumbar puncture (preceded by neuroimaging if increased intracranial pressure or a mass is suspected—see Lumbar puncture). Findings may include lymphocytic or neutrophilic pleocytosis, elevated protein, and usually normal glucose.
Causative disorders are treated, and causative drugs are stopped. Otherwise, treatment is supportive.
If patients appear serious ill, appropriate antibiotics and corticosteroids are started immediately (without waiting for tests results) and continued until acute bacterial meningitis is ruled out (ie, CSF is shown to be sterile).
Drug NameSelect Brand Names
ibuprofenADVIL, MOTRIN IB
PhenazopyridineNo US brand name
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