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This is a trial of dexamethasone in adults with herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis.

Encephalitis means swelling of the brain and has many different causes. It is often caused by a virus. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is the most common virus that causes encephalitis in the UK.

HSV encephalitis is very rare. It is diagnosed by finding the virus in fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This fluid is called CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). The CSF is obtained by the doctor who performs a lumbar puncture (LP).

HSV encephalitis is treated with the drug aciclovir. Despite treatment, some people are left with significant loss of memory. About 2 out of every 3 people will have memory difficulties long term.

We know dexamethasone can reduce swelling. Reduction in swelling of the brain may improve the recovery of patients with HSV encephalitis.

This study, called DexEnceph, will allow us to compare the recovery of patients that received dexamethasone and those that did not.

The Royal Preston Hospital (part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals) is a recruitment centre for this trial.

Further information about DexEnceph can be found on the DexEnceph website.

Dex Enceph