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Merrem Side Effects

Generic Name: meropenem

Note: This document contains side effect information about meropenem. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Merrem.

For the Consumer

Applies to meropenem: intravenous powder for solution

Along with its needed effects, meropenem (the active ingredient contained in Merrem) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking meropenem:

More Common

  • Redness and swelling at the injection site

Less Common

  • Bluish lips or skin
  • chills
  • cold, clammy skin
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast, weak pulse
  • fever
  • lightheadedness
  • not breathing
  • pain at the injection site
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • skin rash and itching
  • sweating


  • Abdominal or stomach cramps and severe pain
  • agitation
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • black, bloody vomit
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blurred vision
  • burning while urinating
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dilated neck veins
  • extreme fatigue
  • fever with or without chills
  • headache
  • hostility
  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • lethargy
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • nosebleed
  • pale skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • rapid weight gain
  • severe constipation
  • severe vomiting
  • slow, irregular heartbeat
  • stopping of the heart
  • stupor
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unconsciousness
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • weight gain
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence Not Known

  • Back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • chest pain
  • confusion as to time, place, or person
  • cough or hoarseness
  • general body swelling
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • swollen glands
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness

Some side effects of meropenem may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More Common

  • Constipation

Less Common

  • Body aches or pain
  • cold hands and feet
  • cold sweats
  • congestion
  • cool pale skin
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • increased hunger
  • indigestion
  • nightmares
  • passing of gas
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • runny nose
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • sneezing
  • stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
  • trouble swallowing
  • vaginal yeast infection
  • voice changes


  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • hives or welts
  • redness of the skin
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • trouble sleeping
  • white patches in the mouth, tongue, or throat

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to meropenem: intravenous powder for injection, intravenous solution


In clinical trials (n=2904), this drug was discontinued in 1.2% of patients due to side effects; 5 deaths were possibly drug-related. In a review of 4872 patients, diarrhea, rash, nausea/vomiting, injection site inflammation, thrombocytosis and increased hepatic enzymes were reported most often.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, gastrointestinal disorder, abdominal pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Oral moniliasis/candidiasis, flatulence, ileus, dyspepsia, intestinal obstruction

Frequency not reported: Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea, antibiotic-associated colitis, pseudomembranous colitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dizziness, seizure, paresthesia, somnolence, syncope, asthenia

Frequency not reported: Hearing loss, other adverse central nervous system (CNS) experiences[Ref]

Seizures and other adverse CNS experiences have been reported. They have occurred most commonly in patients with CNS disorders (e.g., history of seizures, brain lesions) or with bacterial meningitis and/or renal dysfunction.

Seizures occurred more often in patients with moderately severe renal dysfunction.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anemia, hypochromic anemia, bleeding events (including gastrointestinal hemorrhage, melena, epistaxis, hemoperitoneum), thrombocythemia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased platelets, increased eosinophils, decreased platelets, decreased hemoglobin, decreased hematocrit, decreased white blood cells, decreased prothrombin time, decreased partial thromboplastin time, leukocytosis, eosinophilia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia

Postmarketing reports: Agranulocytosis, positive Coombs test (direct or indirect), hemolytic anemia[Ref]


Shock occurred more often in patients with moderately severe renal dysfunction.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Pain, inflammation, sepsis/septicemia, shock, accidental injury

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Chest pain, fever, back pain, chills, pelvic pain, peripheral edema, abdominal enlargement[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Inflammation at the injection site, phlebitis/thrombophlebitis, pain at the injection site

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site reactions, edema at the injection site[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash (including diaper/nappy area moniliasis), pruritus

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria, sweating, skin ulcer

Postmarketing reports: Toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, angioedema, erythema multiforme, severe skin reactions[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Apnea, pharyngitis, pneumonia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Respiratory disorder, dyspnea, pleural effusion, asthma, increased cough, hypoxia, lung edema

Frequency not reported: Respiratory failure[Ref]


Heart failure occurred more often in patients with moderately severe renal dysfunction.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral vascular disorder

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Heart failure, heart arrest, tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolus, bradycardia, hypotension[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Increased transaminases

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased AST, increased ALT, increased bilirubin, hepatic failure, cholestatic jaundice/jaundice[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypoglycemia, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased lactate dehydrogenase

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anorexia, hypervolemia, hypokalemia[Ref]


Kidney failure occurred more often in patients with moderately severe renal dysfunction.[Ref]

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Kidney failure, increased creatinine, increased BUN[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Insomnia, agitation/delirium, confusion, nervousness, hallucinations, anxiety, depression


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysuria, vaginal moniliasis/candidiasis, urinary incontinence, red blood cells in urine[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Serum sickness-like reactions, cross-sensitivity in penicillin-allergic and cephalosporin-allergic patients, anaphylaxis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Myalgia, arthralgia[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Merrem (meropenem)." Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. Zhanel GG, Wiebe R, Dilay L, et al. "Comparative Review of the Carbapenems." Drugs 67 (2007): 1027-1052

4. Baldwin CM, Lyseng-Williamson KA, Keam SJ "Meropenem : a review of its use in the treatment of serious bacterial infections." Drugs 68 (2008): 803-38

5. Wilson SE "Results of a randomized, multicenter trial of meropenem versus clindamycin/tobramycin for the treatment of intra-abdominal infections." Clin Infect Dis 24 Suppl 2 (1997): s197-206

6. Embil JM, Soto NE, Melnick DA "A post hoc subgroup analysis of meropenem versus imipenem/cilastatin in a multicenter, double-blind, randomized study of complicated skin and skin-structure infections in patients with diabetes mellitus." Clin Ther 28 (2006): 1164-74

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9. Shah PM, Heller A, Fuhr HG, Walther F, Halir S, Schaumann R, Bohme A, Jung B, Kohler A, Lipsschulte C, Stille W "Empirical monotherapy with meropenem versus imipenem/cilastatin for febrile episodes in neutropenic patients." Infection 24 (1996): 480-4

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12. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

13. Nilsson-Ehle I, Hutchison M, Haworth SJ, Norrby SR "Pharmacokinetics of meropenem compared to imipenem-cilastatin in young, healthy males." Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 10 (1991): 85-8

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15. Huizinga WK, Warren BL, Baker LW, Valleur P, Pezet DM, Hoogkamp-Korstanjep JA, Karran SJ "Antibiotic monotherapy with meropenem in the surgical management of intra-abdominal infections." J Antimicrob Chemother 36(suppl a (1995): 179-89

16. Byrne S, Maddison J, Connor P, Doughty I, Dodd M, Jenney M, Webb AK, David TJ "Clinical evaluation of meropenem versus ceftazidime for the treatment of Pseudomonas spp. infections in cystic fibrosis patients." J Antimicrob Chemother 36(suppl a (1995): 135-43

17. Hamacher J, Vogel F, Lichey J, Kohl FV, Diwok K, Wendel H, Lode H "Treatment of acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in hospitalised patients--a comparison of meropenem and imipenem/cilastatin. COPD Study Group." J Antimicrob Chemother 36(suppl a (1995): 121-33

18. Liu TJ, Lam JP "Piperacillin-tazobactam-induced acute interstitial nephritis with possible meropenem cross-sensitivity in a patient with osteomyelitis." Am J Health Syst Pharm 69 (2012): 1109

19. Paquet P, Jacob E, Damas P, Pierard GE "Recurrent fatal drug-induced toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) after putative beta-lactam cross-reactivity: Case report and scrutiny of antibiotic imputability." Crit Care Med 30 (2002): 2580-3

20. Ralph ED, John M, Rieder MJ, Bombassaro AM "Serum Sickness-like Reaction Possibly Associated with Meropenem Use." Clin Infect Dis 36 (2003): E149-E151

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.