Meds and you

Updated 27 September 2013

The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam

The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam is an antibiotic combination consisting of piperacillin, a penicillin antibiotic, and tazobactam, an antibiotic substance.

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The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam is the active ingredient of Tazobax (Nappi Code: 703067-001) and Tazocin (Nappi Code: 810894-009).

General information
The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam is an antibiotic combination consisting of piperacillin, a penicillin antibiotic, and tazobactam, an antibiotic substance to protect the antibiotic against resistance.

It is prescribed for the treatment of a wide range of bacterial infections caused by susceptible organisms including middle ear infections, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, dental abscess, skin and soft tissue infections and gonorrhoea.

Should you develop a skin rash whilst being treated with this medication you should notify your doctor to rule out the possibility of allergy.

A penicillin allergy may lead to fever, swelling of the mouth and tongue, itching and associated breathing difficulties.

The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam is only effective against bacterial infections and is useless for treating viral infections such as cold or flu.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacterium develops the ability to defend itself against the effect of an antibiotic. It occurs frequently with this antibiotic. The most common cause for resistance is patients not completing prescribed antibiotic courses allowing the bacteria to recover from treatment, and the use of antibiotics for non-bacterial infections such as cold and flu.

How does the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam work?
Piperacillin functions by changing the structure of the bacterial cell wall, allowing fluid to penetrate into the cell. As a result the bacterial cell literally ruptures.

Tazobactam is an inhibitor of ß-lactamase, meaning that it "tricks" the bacteria into binding to it instead of the "real" antibiotic, thus allowing the antibiotic to overcome resistance. Despite this, some bacterial strains have emerged that are resistant to even such combinations.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam is available as injection.
What does it do? The combination of piperacillin and tazobactam has an antibiotic action.
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam available as a generic? yes
Is the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 6 hours
Duration of action: up to 12 hours
Stopping this medicine: complete the full course as prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better within a few days. Premature discontinuation may cause symptoms to recur, or cause bacterial resistance.
Prolonged use: generally only given in short courses

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

 

  • you have a known allergy to penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics
  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you are undergoing dialysis

Pregnancy: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, 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 unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 12 years.
The elderly: caution is advised for the elderly.
Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

 

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor
 
Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
diarrhoea
 
X
X
 
nausea/vomiting
 
X
X
 
fungal infections
 
X
X
 
black/hairy tongue
 
X
X
 
skin rash
 
X
 
X
itchy skin
 
X
 
X
difficulty swallowing
 
X
 
X
convulsions
 
X
 
X
loss of consciousness
 
X
 
X
headache
 
X
X
 
fever
 
X
 
X
fluid retention
 
X
X
 
bloody diarrhoea
 
X
 
X
bleeding diathesis
 
X
 
X
inflammation at site of injection
 
X
X
 
yellow tinge to eyes or skin
 
X
 
X

Interactions

 

allopurinol increased risk of skin rash
chloroquine reduces the efficacy of Piperacillin
oral contraceptives possible reduced contraceptive efficacy. Another form of contraceptive is advised.
probenecid increased risk of piperacillin toxicity
tetracycline possible reduced piperacillin efficacy
warfarin increased risk of warfarin toxicity

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a known allergy to penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics, you have kidney or liver disease or you are undergoing dialysis.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
This combo should be administered by slow IV infusion over 30 minutes. The normal duration of treatment is 5 - 10 days.

Adults: 4/0.5 g piperacillin/tazobactam 8 hourly. In immune-compromised patients the above dose is given 6 hourly in combination with an aminoglycoside antibiotic.

 

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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