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Meropenem

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

Medically reviewed on November 1, 2017

What is meropenem?

Meropenem is an antibiotic that fights bacteria.

Meropenem is used to treat severe infections of the skin or stomach. Meropenem is also used to treat bacterial meningitis (infection of brain or spinal cord).

Meropenem may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Before you receive meropenem, 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 this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to meropenem or to certain antibiotics, such as:

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

It is not known whether this medicine 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 meropenem given?

Meropenem 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.

Meropenem 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.

Meropenem 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 meropenem 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. Meropenem will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

If you use meropenem 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.

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 meropenem?

Meropenem 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.

Meropenem side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (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 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 meropenem?

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 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 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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