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Merrem

Generic Name: meropenem (mer oh PEH nem)
Brand Names: Merrem

Medically reviewed on December 5, 2017

What is Merrem?

Merrem (meropenem) is an antibiotic that fights bacteria.

Merrem is used to treat severe infections of the skin or stomach.

Merrem is also used to treat bacterial meningitis (infection of brain or spinal cord).

Important information

Before you receive Merrem, tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies to any antibiotic medications.

Before taking this medicine

You may not be able to use Merrem if you have ever had an allergic reaction to meropenem or to certain antibiotics, such as:

  • amoxicillin, ampicillin, Augmentin, Timentin, Unasyn, Zosyn;

  • cefdinir, cefprozil, cefuroxime, cephalexin, and other cephalosporin antibiotics;

  • dicloxacillin, nafcillin, oxacillin, ticarcillin; or

  • any penicillin antibiotic.

To make sure Merrem is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a head injury or brain tumor;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis).

It is not known whether Merrem will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Meropenem can pass into breast milk and may affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How is Merrem given?

Merrem is injected into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of needles, IV tubing, and other items used.

Merrem is usually given every 8 hours. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Merrem must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Do not mix other injectable medications in the same IV bag or tubing used to given your Merrem injection.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Merrem will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

If you use Merrem long-term, you may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office.

Store unopened vials at cool room temperature away from moisture and heat.

After mixing your medicine, you will need to use it within a certain number of hours. This will depend on the diluent and how you store the mixture (at cool room temperature, or in a refrigerator). Carefully follow the mixing and storage instructions provided with your medicine. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Merrem?

Merrem can cause confusion, headaches, or other side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Merrem side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Merrem (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;

  • a seizure (convulsions);

  • sores or white patches in your mouth or throat (yeast infection or "thrush");

  • severe tingling or numbness; or

  • low red blood cells (anemia) - pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet.

Common Merrem side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • anemia;

  • skin rash; or

  • swelling or irritation where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Merrem?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • divalproex sodium;

  • probenecid; or

  • valproic acid.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with meropenem, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Merrem only for the indication prescribed.

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

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