Suspected Meningococcal Disease

Doses are oral and for adults unless otherwise stated. Visit the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website for detailed drug information (summary of product characteristics and patient information leaflets). Dosing details, contraindications and drug interactions can also be found in the Irish Medicines Formulary (IMF) or other reference sources such as British National Formulary (BNF) / BNF for children (BNFC). See guidance on dosing in children for quick reference dosage/weight guide. Refer to drug interactions table for detailed drug interactions for all antimicrobials. Note extensive drug interactions for clarithromycin, fluoroquinolones, azole antifungals and rifampicin. Many antibiotics increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants.

Note additional warnings for clarithromycin and fluoroquinolones

Comments from Expert Advisory Committee

  • Transfer all patients to hospital immediately.
  • Administer benzylpenicillin prior to admission, unless history of anaphylaxis, B- NOT allergy. Ideally IV but IM if a vein cannot be found.
  • GPs or advanced paramedics are not expected to carry an alternative antibiotic to benzylpenicillin. However, if available, a third generation cephalosporin (ceftriaxone or cefotaxime) can be used and is an acceptable alternative to benzylpenicillin for the empirical treatment of suspected meningococcal disease prior to transfer to hospital.
  • Prevention of secondary case of meningitis: Only prescribe following advice from Public Health Doctor.


meningitis treatment table 2019

See guidance on dosing in children for quick reference dosage/weight guide.

Patient Information

Visit HPSC Information Leaflets pages for the General Public, (MRSA, CRE, etc)

We recommend patients use the website developed by HSE/ICGP/IPU partnership for tips on how to get better from common infections without using antibiotics, what you can do for yourself or a loved one and when to seek help.

Reviewed April 2019

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