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All about: Meropenem

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Merrem I.V.


  • Antibacterial, systemic


Meropenem (mer-oh-PEN-em) is used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. This medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For meropenem, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to meropenem, imipenem, penicillins, or cephalosporins. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies have not been done in humans. However, meropenem has not been reported to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether meropenem passes into the breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children—This medicine has been tested in children 3 months of age and older and, in effective doses, has not been reported to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. There is no specific information comparing use of meropenem in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking meropenem, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking the following:

  • Probenecid (e.g., Benemid)—Probenecid causes meropenem to build up in the blood, which may increase the chance of side effects.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of meropenem. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) disorders (for example, brain disease or history of seizures) or
  • Meningitis caused by bacteria—Patients with nervous system disorders, including seizures, may be more likely to have seizures.
  • Kidney disease—Possible increased risk of side effects, including seizures

Proper Use of This Medicine

To help clear up your infection completely, meropenem must be given for the full time of treatment , even if you begin to feel better after a few days. Also, this medicine works best when there is a constant amount in the blood or urine. To help keep the amount constant, it must be given on a regular schedule.

Dosing—The dose of meropenem will be different for different patients. If you are receiving this medicine at home, follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of meropenem. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you receive depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you receive each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are receiving meropenem .

  • For parenteral dosage form (injection):
    • For bacterial infections:
      • Adults—500 milligrams (mg) to 1 gram, depending on the infection, injected into a vein every eight hours.
      • Children 3 months of age and older and weighing up to 50 kg (110 pounds)—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 10 to 40 milligrams (mg) per kg (4.5 to 18 mg per pound) of body weight, depending on the infection, injected into a vein every eight hours.
      • Children weighing 50 kg (110 pounds) or more—500 milligrams (mg) to 2 grams injected into a vein every eight hours.
      • Children younger than 3 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Some patients may develop tremors or seizures while receiving this medicine. If you already have a history of seizures and you are taking anticonvulsants, you should continue to take them unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

In some patients, meropenem may cause diarrhea .

  • Severe diarrhea may be a sign of a serious side effect. Do not take any diarrhea medicine without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make your diarrhea worse or make it last longer.
  • For mild diarrhea, diarrhea medicine containing kaolin (e.g., Kaopectate liquid) or attapulgite (e.g., Kaopectate tablets, Diasorb) may be taken. However, other kinds of diarrhea medicine should not be taken. They may make your diarrhea worse or make it last longer.
  • If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your health care professional.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Redness and swelling at site of injection

Less common

Bluish lips or skin; chills; cold, clammy skin; confusion; dizziness; fainting; fast heartbeat; fast, weak pulse; itching skin; lightheadedness; not breathing; pain at place of injection; rapid, shallow breathing; skin rash and itching; sweating; wheezing


Abdominal or stomach cramps and pain (severe); black, bloody, or tarry stools; black, bloody vomit; convulsions (seizures); diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody; fever with or without chills; nosebleed; vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

Incidence not known

Blistering, peeling, loosening of skin; chest pain; cough or hoarseness; general feeling of tiredness or weakness; joint or muscle pain; large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, sex organs; lower back or side pain; painful or difficult urination; pale skin; red skin lesions, often with a purple center; red, irritated eyes; shortness of breath; sore throat; sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips; swollen glands; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Constipation; diarrhea; nausea and vomiting; troubled breathing with exertion

Less common

Anxiety; blurred vision; body aches or pain; cold hands and feet; cold sweats; congestion; cool pale skin; depression; dryness or soreness of throat; headache; increased hunger; indigestion; loss of appetite; nervousness; nightmares; passing of gas; runny nose; seizures; shakiness; slurred speech; sneezing; stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort; tightness in chest; trouble in swallowing; voice changes

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. During this period of time check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects:

Abdominal or stomach cramps and pain (severe); diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody; fever

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, meropenem is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

  • Febrile neutropenia (treatment)

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for its use.

Developed: 08/04/1998
Revised: 01/13/2006

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