Generic Name: meropenem (mer oh PEH nem)
Brand Name: Merrem, Merrem Novaplus
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.
What is the most important information I should know about meropenem?
You should not use this medicine if you have a history of allergies to certain antibiotic medications, such as penicillin.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using meropenem?
You should not use meropenem if you are allergic to it, or if you have a history of allergy 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 meropenem is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
history of head injury or brain tumor;
epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis).
This medicine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Meropenem can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
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 self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
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, stop using meropenem and 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 any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
sores or white patches in your mouth or throat (yeast infection or "thrush");
low red blood cells (anemia)--pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
signs of inflammation in your body--swollen glands, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, upper stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing; or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;
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)
Meropenem dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Skin and Structure Infection:
500 mg IV every 8 hours
-Complicated infections due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa: 1 g IV every 8 hours
Uses: As a single agent therapy for the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections due to Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible isolates only), Streptococcus pyogenes, S agalactiae, viridans group streptococci, Enterococcus faecalis (vancomycin-susceptible isolates only), P aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Bacteroides fragilis, Peptostreptococcus species
Usual Adult Dose for Intraabdominal Infection:
1 g IV every 8 hours
Uses: As a single agent therapy for the treatment of complicated intraabdominal infections (including appendicitis and peritonitis) due to viridans group streptococci, E coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, P aeruginosa, B fragilis, B thetaiotaomicron, Peptostreptococcus species
Usual Adult Dose for Meningitis:
Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recommendations: 2 g IV every 8 hours for 7 to 21 days
-Recommended as an alternative therapy
Usual Adult Dose for Nosocomial Pneumonia:
American Thoracic Society, IDSA recommendations: 1 g IV every 8 hours
Duration of therapy: As short as 7 days recommended (reducing from traditional 14 to 21 days) if causative organism is not P aeruginosa and patient has good clinical response
-Recommended as empiric therapy of hospital-acquired pneumonia (including ventilator-associated pneumonia) and healthcare-associated pneumonia
-If multidrug-resistant organisms suspected, initial empiric treatment with broad-spectrum coverage (according to the hospital's and/or ICU's antibiogram) is recommended.
-Shortening the duration of therapy may reduce the risk of superinfections with resistant organisms.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Skin and Structure Infection:
3 months or older: 10 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
Maximum dose: 500 mg/dose
-Complicated infections due to P aeruginosa: 20 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
Maximum dose: 1 g/dose
Uses: As a single agent therapy for the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections due to S aureus (methicillin-susceptible isolates only), S pyogenes, S agalactiae, viridans group streptococci, E faecalis (vancomycin-susceptible isolates only), P aeruginosa, E coli, P mirabilis, B fragilis, Peptostreptococcus species
Usual Pediatric Dose for Intraabdominal Infection:
Less than 3 months:
-Infants less than 32 weeks gestational age (GA) and postnatal age (PNA) less than 2 weeks: 20 mg/kg IV every 12 hours
-Infants less than 32 weeks GA and PNA 2 weeks or older: 20 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
-Infants 32 weeks or older GA and PNA less than 2 weeks: 20 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
-Infants 32 weeks or older GA and PNA 2 weeks or older: 30 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
3 months or older: 20 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
Maximum dose: 1 g/dose
Uses: As a single agent therapy for the treatment of complicated intraabdominal infections (including appendicitis and peritonitis) due to viridans group streptococci, E coli, K pneumoniae, P aeruginosa, B fragilis, B thetaiotaomicron, Peptostreptococcus species
Usual Pediatric Dose for Meningitis:
3 months or older: 40 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
Maximum dose: 2 g/dose
-Effective in eliminating concurrent bacteremia associated with bacterial meningitis.
-Efficacy as monotherapy in the treatment of meningitis due to penicillin nonsusceptible isolates of S pneumoniae has not been established.
Uses: As a single agent therapy for the treatment of bacterial meningitis due to S pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis
Infants and children: 40 mg/kg IV every 8 hours
Maximum dose: 2 g/dose
-Recommended as an alternative therapy
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.
More about meropenem
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 1 Review – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: carbapenems
Other brands: Merrem
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about meropenem.
- 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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.05.
Last reviewed: January 09, 2017
Date modified: July 24, 2017