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Imipenem and Cilastatin

Generic name: imipenem and cilastatin [IM-i-PEN-em-and-SYE-la-STAT-in]
Brand Names: Primaxin III, Primaxin II, Primaxin IV, Add-Vantage
Dosage forms: injectable powder for injection (250 mg–250 mg), intravenous powder for injection (500 mg–500 mg)

What are Imipenem and Cilastatin?

Imipenem is an antibacterial used to treat infections in the heart, lung, kidneys, or bladder. It is also effective for treating infections of the skin, bones, joints, and stomach.

This medication guide does not list all possible uses for imipenem or cilastatin.

Side effects of Imipenem and Cilastatin

If you experience any of the following symptoms of an allergy reaction, seek immediate medical attention: difficulty breathing, hives, swelling in your lips, face, throat, or tongue.

Imipenem or cilastatin can cause severe side effects. If you experience:

  • Severe abdominal pain bloody or watery diarrhea (even months after the last dose)
  • Pain, swelling, irritation, or burning around the IV needle
  • Seizure (convulsions).

Side effects common to imipenem or cilastatin include:

  • Pain, bruising, or swelling where the medication was injected.
  • Fever, feeling light-headed, seizures;
  • Rapid heart rate; little or no urine; discoloration of the urine
  • Thrush is a fungal disease.
  • Dizziness, drowsiness;
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • Itching, rash.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. The FDA can be contacted at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report any side effects.

Similar/related drugs

Prednisone, Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Ciprofloxacin, Cephalexin, Azithromycin, and Metronidazole


Do not use it other than as prescribed. Inform your doctor of any other medications you are taking or if there is a medical condition or allergy.

Before you take this drug

If you have an allergy to imipenem, cilastatin, or both, then it is best not to use these drugs.

If you or a family member have:

  • An allergy to antibiotics that are similar, such as cephalexin (meropenem), ampicillin (ampicillin), penicillin, and other antibiotics;
  • Stroke, epilepsy, or any other seizure disorder.
  • A head injury or brain tumor;
  • Any other allergy type;
  • Kidney disease or dialysis (if applicable)

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Details on dosage

Follow all directions and instructions that are included with the medication.Follow the directions on your prescription label.Imipenem is given in a vein as an injection. You may be given this injection by a healthcare professional or taught how to use it properly.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to administer the drug. If the medication is cloudy, looks like it has changed color, or if there are particles present in it, call your pharmacist. If you're not sure how to inject a medicine, ask your pharmacist or doctor.Make sure that you know how to mix the medicine properly with a liquid.After lab tests have shown that the infection is cleared, the dosage of imipenem or cilastatin will depend on how severe the infection was.You may have to check your kidney function often.Antibiotics can also cause diarrhea. If you experience diarrhea that's watery or bleeding, tell your doctor.

Continue to use this medication even if you notice a rapid improvement in your symptoms. If you skip doses, your infection could become resistant to the medication. Imipenem or cilastatin do not work on a virus, such as the flu.Weight is used to determine the dose for children. If your child loses or gains weight, the dose of medication may be adjusted.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you forget to take a dosage, call your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Call 1-800-222-1222 for poison help or seek immediate medical attention.

What should be avoided?

If your doctor prescribes any restrictions on foods, drinks, or activities, follow their instructions.

Interaction with other drug

Your doctor might need to adjust your regular doses for other medications when you begin or stop taking imipenem or cilastatin.

Inform your doctor of all other medications you are taking, including:

  • Ganciclovir;
  • Probenecid;
  • Divalproex sodium, valproic acid (Depakote, Depakene).

The list below is not exhaustive. This list is not complete. Other medications, such as vitamins and herbs, may also affect imipenem or cilastatin. This list does not include all possible drug interactions.