Role of aspirin in tuberculous meningitis: A randomized open label placebo controlled trial

Published:April 26, 2010DOI:



      To evaluate the efficacy and safety of aspirin in preventing stroke and mortality in tuberculous meningitis (TBM).


      Patients with TBM diagnosed on the basis of clinical, MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) criteria were randomized into aspirin 150 mg daily or placebo. All the patients received four drug antitubercular treatment- RHZE (rifampicin, isoniazide, pyrazinamide and ethambutol) with or without corticosteroid. The primary endpoint was MRI proven stroke at 3 months and secondary end points were mortality and functional outcome assessed by Barthel Index score at 3 months. The adverse drug reactions were also analyzed.


      118 TBM patients were randomized into aspirin and placebo groups. The baseline demographic, clinical (severity of meningitis, MRI and CSF changes) were not significantly different between the two groups. 19 (16.1%) patients lost from follow up. 21 (33.3%) patients developed stroke after randomization which was insignificantly lesser in aspirin (24.2%) compared to the placebo group (43.3%; OR 0.42, 95%CI 0.12-1.39). Aspirin resulted in absolute risk reduction of stroke in 19.1% and significant reduction in mortality compared to placebo (21.7% Vs 43.4%, P=0.02). On binary logistic regression analysis, the age (OR 1.09, CI 1.03-1.14, P=0.001) was the only independent risk factor of stroke and aspirin was significantly related to survival (OR 3.17, 95% CI 1.21-8.31). Aspirin was well tolerated and was not withdrawn in any patient because of side effects.


      Aspirin resulted in insignificantly lesser strokes and significantly reduced 3 month mortality in patients with TBM.


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