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Meropenem (Intravenous)

mer-oh-PEN-em

Medically reviewed on Oct 31, 2018

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Merrem IV

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Powder for Solution

Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic

Pharmacologic Class: Beta-Lactam

Chemical Class: Carbapenem

Uses For meropenem

Meropenem injection is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing the bacteria or preventing their growth. Meropenem will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

Meropenem is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.

Before Using meropenem

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For meropenem, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to meropenem or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of meropenem injection in children 3 months of age and older with complicated skin and skin structure infections and bacterial meningitis, and for children with intra-abdominal infections. Safety and efficacy have been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of meropenem injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving meropenem injection.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters B Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving meropenem, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using meropenem with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Cholera Vaccine, Live
  • Valproic Acid

Using meropenem with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Probenecid

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of meropenem. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to penicillins, cephalosporins, or other allergens, history of—Use may increase the risk for an allergic reaction to reoccur.
  • Brain infection (eg, meningitis) caused by bacteria or
  • Brain lesion (eg, tumor) or
  • Seizures, history of—May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects of may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use of meropenem

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child meropenem. It is given through a needle placed into one of your veins. The medicine must be injected slowly, so the needle will need to stay in place for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

Precautions While Using meropenem

It is very important that your doctor check you or your child's progress closely while you are receiving meropenem. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it.

Meropenem may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you or your child have itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after receiving meropenem.

Serious skin reactions can occur with meropenem. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or a skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills with meropenem.

Some patients may develop tremors or seizures while receiving meropenem. If you or your child already have a history of seizures and you are taking anticonvulsants, you should continue unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are taking divalproex sodium (Depakote®) or valproic acid (Depakene®).

Meropenem may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using meropenem. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Meropenem may cause seizures, confusion, headaches, numbness or tingling sensation. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how meropenem affects you.

Do not take other medicines unless thy have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Meropenem Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

  • Bluish lips or skin
  • chills
  • cold, clammy skin
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast, weak pulse
  • fever
  • itching, skin rash
  • lightheadedness
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • sweating

Rare

  • Agitation
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • black, bloody vomit
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blurred vision
  • burning sensation while urinating
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased awareness or responsiveness
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dilated neck veins
  • extreme tiredness or weakness
  • fever with or without chills
  • headache
  • hives or welts
  • hostility
  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • nosebleed
  • pale skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • rapid weight gain
  • seizures
  • severe constipation
  • severe vomiting
  • severe sleepiness
  • slow, irregular heartbeat
  • stomach cramps, severe
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unconsciousness
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • weight gain
  • white patches in the mouth, tongue, or throat
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  • Back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • chest pain
  • confusion as to time, place, or person
  • cough
  • general body swelling
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • hoarseness
  • holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • swollen glands
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Constipation
  • redness and swelling at the injection site

Less common

  • Body aches or pain
  • cold hands and feet
  • cold sweats
  • congestion
  • cool pale skin
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • increased hunger
  • indigestion
  • nightmares
  • passing of gas
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • runny nose
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • sneezing
  • stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
  • trouble swallowing
  • vaginal yeast infection
  • voice changes

Rare

  • Belching
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or bowels
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • redness of the skin
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • trouble sleeping

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Further information

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

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