Medically reviewed: March 12, 2018
What is imipenem and cilastatin?
Imipenem is an antibiotic that fights bacteria.
Cilastatin helps imipenem work more effectively by preventing the breakdown of the antibiotic in the kidneys.
Imipenem and cilastatin is a combination medicine used to treat severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, skin, stomach, or female reproductive organs.
Imipenem and cilastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to imipenem or cilastatin, or if you are allergic to lidocaine or other local anesthetics (numbing medicine).
To make sure imipenem and cilastatin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether imipenem and cilastatin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use imipenem and cilastatin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Imipenem and cilastatin is injected into a muscle. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Imipenem and cilastatin is a powder medicine that 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. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection.
Do not mix imipenem and cilastin with other medicines in the same syringe.
Do not inject this medicine into a vein.
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. Imipenem and cilastatin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Imipenem and cilastatin is usually given as long as needed until your infection has cleared or you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
Store the unmixed medicine at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. After mixing imipenem and cilastatin, you must use it within 1 hour.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of imipenem and cilastatin.
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 imipenem and cilastatin?
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.
Imipenem and cilastatin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
a seizure (convulsions);
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.
Common side effects may include:
pain where the medicine was injected;
itching, rash; or
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 imipenem and cilastatin?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with imipenem and cilastatin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication 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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More about cilastatin/imipenem
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- Drug class: carbapenems
- Imipenem and Cilastatin (AHFS Monograph)
- Imipenem and Cilastatin Injection (FDA)
- Imipenem and Cilastatin (Wolters Kluwer)