Meropenem

Meropenem treats serious bacterial infections. Avoid operating heavy machinery or tasks that require mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you.

Meropenem Overview

Reviewed: September 20, 2013
Updated: 
Meropenem is a prescription medication used to treat serious skin and stomach infections and certain types of meningitis (irritation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord). Meropenem belongs to a group of drugs called carbapenem antibiotics, which work by attacking bacteria in the body.
 
This medication comes in an injectable form to be given directly into the vein (IV) by a healthcare professional. It is usually given three times daily (every eight hours). In patients with certain kidney problems, it may be given less often.  
 
Common side effects of meropenem include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and headache. Meropenem can also affect your neurological (brain) function, which can cause dizziness, fainting, or seizures. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how meropenem affects you.

Patient Ratings for Meropenem

How was your experience with Meropenem?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Meropenem?

What are you taking Meropenem for?

Choose one
  • Other
  • Appendicitis
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Bacteroides Infections
  • Escherichia Coli Infections
  • Fever
  • Klebsiella Infections
  • Meningitis, Haemophilus
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal
  • Neutropenia
  • Peritonitis
  • Pseudomonas Infections
  • Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Soft Tissue Infections
  • Urinary Tract Infections

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Meropenem work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Meropenem to a friend?

Meropenem Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Meropenem

Meropenem is a prescription medication used to treat serious skin and stomach infections and certain types of meningitis (irritation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord). 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
 

Meropenem Brand Names

Meropenem may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Meropenem Drug Class

Meropenem is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Meropenem

Serious side effects have been reported with meropenem. See the “Meropenem Precautions” section.

Common side effects of meropenem include the following:
  • diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • itching or rash

This is not a complete list of meropenem side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

 

 

Meropenem Interactions

Meropenem should not be mixed with other drugs going into the vein at the same time.  

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
  • probenecid (Probalan)
  • valproic acid (Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon, Stavzor)

This is not a complete list of meropenem drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

 

 

Meropenem Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with meropenem including the following:
  • hypersensitivity (severe allergic reaction). Tell your healthcare provider if you have an allergy to any other antibiotic, especially penicillin antibiotics (Pfizerpen, Pen VK, Amoxicillin, Augmentin, Zosyn, Unasyn, Timentin, Nallpen, Bicillin LA), before starting this medication.  Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms of hypersensitivity, which include the following:
    • chest pain
    • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
    • difficulty breathing
    • fainting
    • rash
  • seizures. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a seizure before starting this medication.  Report any signs or symptoms of seizure activity, which can include the following:
    • shaking 
    • twitching
    • falling or fainting
    • seeing bright lights or spots 
    • hearing sounds that are not there
  • superinfection. Prolonged use can lead to the growth of dangerous organisms that are resistant or unresponsive to this medication. Take meropenem for the duration prescribed by your doctor.
  • thrombocytopenia. This is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of blood cell fragments called platelets.  It is more likely to occur if you have kidney problems while taking meropenem.  Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have the following signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia:
    • mild to serious bleeding
    • purple, brown, and red bruises (purpura)
    • small red or purple dots on your skin (petechiae)
    • prolonged bleeding, even from minor cuts
    • bleeding or oozing from the mouth or nose, especially nosebleeds or bleeding from brushing your teeth
    • abnormal vaginal bleeding (especially heavy menstrual flow)
    • blood in the urine or stool or bleeding from the rectum. Blood in the stool can appear as red blood or as a dark, tarry color. Taking iron supplements also can cause dark, tarry stools.
    • headaches and other neurological symptoms. These problems are very rare, but you should discuss them with your doctor.
  • diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics, and it usually ends when the antibacterial is stopped. Even after starting treatment with antibiotics, some patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) as late as 2 or more months after having taken their last dose of the antibacterial. If diarrhea is severe or lasts more than 2 or 3 days, contact your doctor, as this may be a sign of an infection of the bowels.
  • Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) associated diarrhea. Some antibiotics can kill the “good” bacteria in the colon leading to a growth of C. difficile bacteria. This “bad” bacterium can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems, and these problems may even occur 2 months after the last dose. Extra caution for this side effect is advised in the elderly population. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any or all of the following symptoms:
    • watery diarrhea (at least three bowel movements per day for two or more days)
    • loss of appetite
    • abdominal pain or tenderness
    • nausea
    • fever

Meropenem can cause headache and drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Do not take meropenem if you are allergic to meropenem or any of its ingredients.

Meropenem Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of meropenem, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

 

Inform MD

Before taking meropenem, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to any ingredient in meropenem
  • have or have had kidney problems
  • take medication for seizures or bipolar disorder
  • have or have had neurological (brain or nervous system) problems
  • have gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) problems, especially colitis
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
 
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

 

Meropenem and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
 
Meropenem falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with meropenem. But in animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.
 

 

Meropenem and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Meropenem has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from meropenem, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.

 

Meropenem Usage

Take meropenem exactly as prescribed.

Meropenem comes in injectable form to be given directly into the vein (IV) by a healthcare professional.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of meropenem at the same time or in the same day.
 

 

Meropenem Dosage

Take meropenem exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
 
The meropenem dose your doctor recommends will be based on the following: 
  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your kidney function
  • your neurological (brain and nervous system) function
 
The recommended dose range for meropenem in adults is based on the infection and ranges from 500 mg to 1 g every 8 hours. Patients with kidney problems may require lower doses less often (once or twice daily).
The recommended dose range for meropenem in children (weighing 50 kg or less) ranges from 10 to 40 mg/kg every 8 hours, with a maximum of 2 g every 8 hours. 
 
The recommended dose range for meropenem in children (weighing more than 50kg) ranges from 500 mg to 1 g every 8 hours.
Meropenem should be infused into the vein over 15 to 30 minutes.  Sometimes doses can be given directly into the vein over 3 to 5 minutes adults.

Meropenem Overdose

If this medication is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • The dry powdered form can be stored at room temperature at 15-25°C (59-77°F).
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.