Adding dexamethasone to antibiotic treatment of septic arthritis in children improves outcomes, studies have found, yet antibiotics alone remain the standard of care. Israeli researchers carried out a retrospective cohort study to confirm the role of the anti-inflammatory steroid.
In a study of 116 children with septic arthritis, published in Pediatrics (online, 7 September 2015)
, the researchers found that combining dexamethasone and antibiotics shortened fever, duration of intravenous antibiotic treatment, length of hospital stay, and led to more rapid clinical and laboratory improvement compared with antibiotics alone.
The findings confirm that this regimen enhances recovery in a real-world setting. However, the study did not include meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, and further research is needed before this becomes standard of care, say the authors.
 Fogel I, Amir J, Bar-On E et al. Dexamethasone therapy for septic arthritis in children. Pediatrics 2015. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-4025.