St. Louis Encephalitis Medication

Updated: Apr 16, 2015
  • Author: Charurut Somboonwit, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Burke A Cunha, MD  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment. The drugs in supportive care consist of agents capable of ameliorating neurologic complications. Antipyretics are used as needed.

A pilot study has shown that early use of interferon-alpha2b may decrease the severity of complications. [10] As previously stated, no antiviral agent is available for the treatment of St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) infection, and no vaccine is available for preexposure protection.

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Anticonvulsant Agents

Class Summary

These agents prevent seizure recurrence and terminate clinical and electrical seizure activity.

Phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)

Phenytoin may act in the motor cortex, where it may inhibit the spread of seizure activity. The activity of brain stem centers responsible for the tonic phase of grand mal seizures may also be inhibited.

Individualize the dose. Administer a larger dose before retiring if the dose cannot be divided equally. The rate of infusion must not exceed 50 mg per minute to avoid hypotension and arrhythmia.

Diazepam (Valium)

Diazepam depresses all levels of the CNS (eg, limbic, reticular formation), possibly by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Alternatively, lorazepam can be used when indicated.

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Antipyretics

Class Summary

These agents are helpful in relieving the associated lethargy, malaise, and fever associated with the disease.

Acetaminophen (Acephen, Feverall, Tylenol)

Acetaminophen inhibits the action of endogenous pyrogens on heat-regulating centers. It reduces fever by a direct action on the hypothalamic heat-regulating centers, which, in turn, increases the dissipation of body heat via sweating and vasodilation.

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