Meropenem: An Updated Review of its Use in the Management of Intra-Abdominal Infections

Lowe, M.N.; Lamb, H.M.
September 2000
Drugs;Sep2000, Vol. 60 Issue 3, p619
Academic Journal
Meropenem is a carbapenem antibacterial agent with a broad spectrum of activity which encompasses Gram-negative, Gram-positive and anaerobic bacteria. Like other carbapenems, meropenem is stable against chromosomal and extended-spectrum β-lactamases. In patients with moderate to severe intra-abdominal infections, empirical monotherapy with meropenem achieved clinical response rates ranging from 91 to 100% in 7 randomised comparative trials. Efficacy rates were similar to those of imipenem/cilastatin (94 to 97%), clindamycin plus tobramycin (93%) and, overall, to cefotaxime plus metronidazole (75 to 100%), although there were differences between trials versus this combination regimen. According to limited data, meropenem also achieved clinical response rates of over 80% in patients with severe intra-abdominal infections. Meropenem is well tolerated, the most common adverse events being diarrhoea, rash, nausea/vomiting and inflammation at the injection site which are reported in <2.5% of patients each. Meropenem also has an improved CNS tolerability profile compared with imipenem/cilastatin. Conclusions: Extensive comparative clinical data demonstrate that meropenem can be used effectively as empirical monotherapy in moderate to severe intra-abdominal infections. It also shows potential in the most severe forms of infection, although experience in this infection type remains limited. Compared with standard combination regimens, meropenem offers the benefits of ease of administration without the need for monitoring. It also offers improved CNS tolerability compared with imipenem/cilastatin with the option of a higher maximum dosage, which may be a particular advantage in patients with severe intra-abdominal infections.


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