Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Meropenem

Meropenem is a broad-spectrum antibiotic drug related to penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics.

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Meropenem is the active ingredient found in Meronem.

General information

Meropenem is a broad-spectrum antibiotic drug related to penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics.

It is effectively applied in the treatment of septicaemia, as well as in the treatment of lower respiratory tract, genitourinary tract, meningitis and skin and soft tissue infections caused by organisms that are sensitive to meropenem.

The use of this antibiotic is generally limited to severe nosocomial infections - infections originating in a hospital environment, in patients whom did not have the infection at the time of admission.

Meropenem is more stable than imipenem, and is not combined with cilastin.

The use of this antibiotic is reserved for hospital use only.

How does meropenem work?

It works by interfering with bacterial ability to form cell walls. The result is that the bacteria break up and die.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: meropenem is available as injection

What does it do? meropenem has an antibiotic action

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is meropenem available as a generic? no

Is meropenem available on prescription only? yes

User information

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have epilepsy
  • you are allergic to any antibiotics
  • you have any disorders of the central nervous system
  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. It is not known how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication should only be used as prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: caution is advised in the elderly and a reduced dose may be needed.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

stomach pain

X

X

nausea/ vomiting

X

X

diarrhoea

X

X

headache

X

X

skin rash/itch

X

X

convulsions

X

X

pain/ inflammation at site of injection

X

X

Interactions

Drug interactions

ganciclovir

increased meropenem toxicity

theophylline

increased risk of convulsion

probenecid

increased risk of meropenem toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have epilepsy, are allergic to any antibiotics, have any disorders of the central nervous system or if you have kidney disease.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 1.5-3g/day, in divided doses, up to a maximum daily dose of 4g/day

Children: Only as prescribed by a paediatrician.

 

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