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Imipenem and cilastatin

Generic name: imipenem and cilastatin [ IM-i-PEN-em-and-SYE-la-STAT-in ]
Brand names: Primaxin IV, Primaxin IM, Primaxin IV ADD-Vantage
Dosage forms: injectable powder for injection (250 mg-250 mg), intravenous powder for injection (500 mg-500 mg)
Drug class: Carbapenems

Medically reviewed by on Sep 7, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is imipenem and cilastatin?

Imipenem and cilastatin is an antibiotic that is used in adults and children to treat bacterial infections of the heart, lungs, bladder, kidneys, skin, blood, bones, joints, stomach, or female reproductive organs.

Imipenem and cilastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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.

Imipenem and cilastatin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody (even if it occurs months after your last dose);

  • pain, swelling, burning, or irritation around the IV needle; or

  • seizure (convulsions).

Common side effects of imipenem and cilastatin may include:

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.


Use only as directed. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use imipenem and cilastatin if you are allergic to imipenem or cilastatin.

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is imipenem and cilastatin given?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Imipenem and cilastatin is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider may give you this injection or may teach you how to properly use this medicine by yourself.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Call your pharmacist if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors or has particles in it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand how to use an injection.

Be sure you understand how to properly mix this medicine with a liquid (diluent) and how to store the mixture.

Depending on the severity of the infection, imipenem and cilastatin is usually given for as long as needed after lab tests show that the infection has cleared.

Your kidney function may need to be checked often.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea. Tell your doctor if you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody.

Keep using this medicine even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses could make your infection resistant to medication. Imipenem and cilastatin will not treat a viral infection (flu or a common cold).

Doses are based on weight in children. Your child's dose may change if the child gains or loses weight.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a 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 receiving imipenem and cilastatin?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What other drugs will affect imipenem and cilastatin?

When you start or stop receiving imipenem and cilastatin, your doctor may need to adjust the doses of other medicines you use on a regular basis.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect imipenem and cilastatin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

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.