Skip to Content

The originating document has been archived. We cannot confirm the completeness, accuracy and currency of the content.

Primaxin IM

Generic Name: imipenem/cilastatin (IM-i-PEN-em/SYE-la-STAT-in)
Brand Name: Primaxin IM

Primaxin IM is used for:

Treating infections caused by certain bacteria.

Primaxin IM is a carbapenem antibiotic. It kills bacteria by blocking growth of the bacteria's cell wall.

Do NOT use Primaxin IM if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Primaxin IM, to any other carbapenem antibiotic (eg, meropenem), or to amide-type local anesthetics (eg, lidocaine)
  • you have heart block or severe shock
  • you are taking probenecid
  • the patient is a child with a brain or nervous system infection, or weighs less than 66 lb (30 kg) and has kidney problems

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Primaxin IM:

Some medical conditions may interact with Primaxin IM. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to a penicillin antibiotic (eg, amoxicillin) or cephalosporin antibiotic (eg, cephalexin)
  • if you have kidney, liver, or heart problems; severe high blood pressure; a history of seizures or central nervous system problems (eg, brain lesions); you have been very ill or weakened; or you are in shock
  • if you are on dialysis

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Primaxin IM. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Ganciclovir because risk of seizures may be increased
  • Amiodarone, beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), cimetidine, mexiletine, or probenecid because actions and side effects of Primaxin IM, such as heart or nerve toxicity, may be increased
  • Succinylcholine because actions and side effects may be increased by Primaxin IM
  • Divalproex sodium or valproic acid because their effectiveness may be decreased by Primaxin IM
  • Other medicines that may increase your risk of seizures (eg, tramadol) because the risk of seizures may be further increased when combined with Primaxin IM. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about whether any of your other medicines may increase your risk of seizures

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Primaxin IM may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Primaxin IM:

Use Primaxin IM as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Primaxin IM is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Primaxin IM at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Primaxin IM. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use Primaxin IM if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • To clear up your infection completely, use Primaxin IM for the full course of treatment. Keep using it even if you feel better in a few days.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Primaxin IM, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Primaxin IM.

Important safety information:

  • Primaxin IM may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Primaxin IM. Using Primaxin IM alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Do not use more than the recommended dose or more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Be sure to use Primaxin IM for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Primaxin IM only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold).
  • Mild diarrhea is common with antibiotic use. However, a more serious form of diarrhea (pseudomembranous colitis) may rarely occur. This may develop while you use the antibiotic or within several months after you stop using it. Contact your doctor right away if stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools occur. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.
  • Long-term or repeated use of Primaxin IM may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Primaxin IM before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function, liver function, and complete blood cell count, may be performed while you use Primaxin IM. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Primaxin IM with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Primaxin IM should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Primaxin IM while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Primaxin IM, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Primaxin IM:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Mild diarrhea; minor pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; breathing problems; chest pain; dark urine; decreased urination; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hearing loss; joint pain or tenderness; mental or mood changes (eg, agitation, anxiety, confusion); numbness or tingling of the skin; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe diarrhea; severe stomach cramps or pain; shortness of breath; swelling of the hands or feet; swelling or redness at the injection site; tremors or abnormal muscle movements; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusual vaginal odor or discharge; vein swelling or tenderness; white patches in the mouth; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include seizures; slow breathing; tremors.

Proper storage of Primaxin IM:

Primaxin IM is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Primaxin IM at home, store Primaxin IM as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Primaxin IM out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Primaxin IM, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Primaxin IM is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Primaxin IM or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Primaxin IM. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Primaxin IM. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Primaxin IM.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.