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Drugs. 1995 Jul;50(1):73-101.

Meropenem. A review of its antibacterial activity, pharmacokinetic properties and clinical efficacy.

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Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


The parenteral carbapenem meropenem is relatively stable to inactivation by human renal dehydropeptidase (DHP-1) and does not require concomitant administration of a DHP-1 inhibitor such as cilastatin. It has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity in vitro, the majority of Gram-negative, Gram-positive and anaerobic pathogens being highly susceptible to the drug. Meropenem has shown clinical and bacteriological efficacy in the treatment of a wide range of serious infections in adults and children which is at least comparable with that of currently available treatment options. Its clinical and bacteriological efficacy is similar to that of imipenem/cilastatin, clindamycin plus tobramycin and cefotaxime plus metronidazole in the treatment of intraabdominal infections; cefotaxime or ceftriaxone in the treatment of meningitis; imipenem/cilastatin, and ceftazidime with or without an aminoglycoside, in lower respiratory tract infections; and imipenem/cilastatin or ceftazidime in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Satisfactory clinical and bacteriological response rates have also been achieved in patients with skin and skin structure infections, obstetric and gynaecological infections or septicaemia, and in immunocompromised patients with febrile episodes. Preliminary findings also indicate efficacy in the treatment of respiratory tract infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. The tolerability profile of meropenem is generally similar to that of comparator agents, although it is associated with a lower incidence of adverse gastrointestinal effects (nausea and vomiting) than imipenem/cilastatin. Importantly, the incidence of seizures in patients with meningitis is not increased following administration of meropenem. Thus, meropenem is an effective broad spectrum antibacterial drug for the treatment of a wide range of infections including polymicrobial infections in both adults and children, with comparable efficacy to imipenem/cilastatin and various other treatment regimens. Meropenem is likely to be of greatest value as empiric monotherapy in the treatment of serious infections for those caused by multiply-resistant pathogens. Further clinical experience is necessary, however, to ultimately define its place in therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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