Imipenem is used clinically in the treatment of serious infections. Due to its wide spectrum of activity, it can be prescribed as an initial antibiotic therapy.  


What is Imipenem?

Imipenem belongs to the Carbapenems family, which are antibiotics that exhibit broad spectrum activity against Gama positive bacteria, Gama negative bacteria (Pseudomonas spp.) and anaerobes. They are similar in structure and mechanism of action to drugs such as penicillin and cephalosporin. That being said, they inhibit bacterial growth by interfering with the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall. In addition to imipenem, other effective drugs include thienamycin and meropenem.


How should Imipenem be taken?

Imipenem is administered intravenously in combination with other drugs in a hospital setting.  


Side effects associated with Imipenem

Among the recognized side effects of the use of Carbapenem antibiotics (particularly in predisposed patients or following prolonged treatment) include the following:


  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain and swelling at the injection site


It is important to immediately contact a doctor if you experience:


  • Liver dysfunction (elevated aminotransferase, increased bilirubin)
  • Kidney dysfunction (oliguria, anuria, and urinary abnormalities)


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Imipenem

Dosages should be adjusted in elderly patients, patients with kidney disease or patients with liver problems. Prolonged treatment with Imipinem could alter the gut flora.  


Given the lack of studies on the safety profile of Imipenem on the health of fetuses and infants, it is currently preferable to avoid the use of this drug during pregnancy and lactation.