Ertapenem (Injection)

Overview

Ertapenem is a prescription medication that is used to prevent and halt the growth of bacteria. It is effective in all areas of the body but is not a suitable treatment for ailments that are caused by viruses, such as the common cold or influenza. This drug is either administered intravenously in the hospital, or the patient is trained to inject the medication into a muscle while at home. As this medication is commonly mixed with lidocaine, patients with an allergy to that substance should not use ertapenem.

This drug has been known to cause a potentially deadly allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis and patients who are taking ertapenem should be aware of the signs of this affliction and seek immediate emergency medical treatment should they occur.

Be sure to discuss all other medications that you are taking with your physician prior to beginning your ertapenem course of treatment. It is important that this medication is taken at the same time each day and that all doses be taken at their scheduled times. Many patients report an improvement in their symptoms after just a few doses of ertapenem, but it is important that the entire course of treatment be taken. Bacterial infections can be resilient and your body may develop a tolerance for ertapenem if it is not taken exactly as directed.

Conditions Treated

  • Bacterial infection

Type Of Medicine

  • Carbapenem
  • Beta-Lactam
  • Antibiotic

Side Effects

Many medications, including ertapenem, can cause unwanted side effects. While the likelihood of experiencing these symptoms will vary from patient to patient, if you have any of these listed below, it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible, as further medical attention may be necessary.

More Likely:

  • Bleeding
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Soreness
  • The feeling of pressure
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Ulceration
  • Numbness
  • Lumps
  • Redness of skin
  • Inflammation
  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Stinging
  • Tenderness
  • Coldness
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Blistering
  • Unusually warm skin

Less Likely:

  • Dry, red, hot or irritated skin
  • Bluish color or other alterations to the color of the skin
  • Pain, swelling or tenderness, in the leg or foot
  • Fast, pounding or irregular heartbeat or pulse

Rare Occurrence:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • Swelling of eyes or eyelids
  • Fast or irregular breathing
  • Nausea
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Fever
  • Tightness in chest
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Wheezing
  • Muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities

Unknown Rate of Occurrence:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • itching, in the eyes, the eyelids or tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there

The side effects in this list may occur and will likely dissipate on their own after just a few days. Your body will need a short period of time to adjust as the medication builds up in your system, which is the likely cause of these symptoms. If you experience any of the following and they worsen or linger for longer than a few days, it is always a good idea to contact your doctor for advice.

More Likely:

Less Likely:

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Unable to sleep
  • Blurred vision
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Congestion
  • Tender, swollen glands in neck
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Difficulty having a bowel movement
  • Stomach discomfort, upset or pain
  • Dryness or soreness of throat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • A runny nose
  • Flushing
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Hoarseness
  • Leg pain
  • Itching of the vagina or genital area
  • Nervousness
  • Indigestion
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Heartburn
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fear
  • Sore mouth or tongue
  • Faintness
  • Sudden sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Body aches or pain
  • Voice changes
  • Belching
  • White patches in the mouth or on tongue

While this list strives to be comprehensive, there may be additional symptoms that you experience while taking ertapenem. If such side effects become worrisome or are a bother due to lingering more than a short while, it is always best practice to confer with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

Dosage

The dosage instructions and guidelines that are included on this page are the typical amounts and frequencies, however, as this is an injection that must go directly into a vein, it is unlikely that you will be self-administering ertapenem. Always follow the directions provided by your prescribing physician and alert them to any issues that you may experience when taking this medication.

Again, this medication is typically administered by a doctor or other healthcare professional via injection in the treatment or prevention of bacterial infections. If you are trained to give yourself the injection, be sure to closely adhere to the guidelines provided by your doctor relating to the amount of the dosage, the location of the injection, and whether you are to inject the drug into your vein or muscle.

For adults and children, 13 and older the single one-gram-dosage will be injected once per day. The prescribing physician will determine the injection site, the length of time that you will continue to take the drug, and whether said medication is injected into a vein or muscles.

Patients that are younger than 13 but older than three months will have their dosage determined by your doctor based on your body weight. Typically, 6.8mg will be injected for every pound of weight of the patient two times each day. The course of treatment will vary in size of the patient, age, and the severity of the condition being treated by the ertapenem.

Infants younger than three months that require the use of this drug will be directed by their doctor or pediatrician regarding appropriate dosage and length of treatment.

Major Drug Interactions

Patients that are currently taking medications that may interfere with the effectiveness of ertapenem may have their doctors alter one or both of the medications and how they are taken. If your doctor believes that any potential harm is offset by the benefits that come with taking ertapenem, be sure to notify them of any issues that you experience if you are taking this medication along with

-Valproic acid
-A live cholera vaccine

If you are currently using either one of these two medications concurrently with ertapenem, you may be susceptible to a higher chance of experiencing side effects. Be sure to alert your doctor if you have any serious effects from the use of ertapenem with:

-Tacrolimus
-Probenecid

If you use alcohol or tobacco products on a regular basis, be sure to notify your physician prior to starting the ertapenem course of treatment. Also alert them to any changes in how you take your prescriptions, how often you are taking them, as well as any changes to your overall health and wellness.

Notify your doctor of all the medications that you are currently taking, both prescription and non-prescription. Inform them of any herbal remedies that you take along with all vitamin and mineral supplements. Your doctor should also be aware of all allergies that you have including allergic reactions to certain foods, medications and other items.

If you suffer from additional medical conditions other than those for which you are being treated with ertapenem be sure to remain in close communication with your doctor as the use of this drug may make the following conditions worse:

  • Kidney disease
  • A history of seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Brain disease

Warnings

While taking ertapenem, it may be necessary to check in with your doctor at regular intervals in order for them to ensure that the medication is working effectively and that there is no occurrence of unwanted side effects. If your doctor schedules an office visit, or orders any diagnostic testing such as bloodwork, be sure to keep all such appointments.

Due to the resilient nature of bacteria, it is important that you take ertapenem for the entire course of treatment, even in cases where you begin to feel better after just a few doses. Take the medication as directed and be sure to not skip any dosages. In order to be most effective, it is important that a certain level of ertapenem be in the blood and urine streams at all times. If you do not complete the course of treatment it is likely that your body will build up a tolerance to the antibiotic and ertapenem will lose some of its effectiveness. Be sure to take the medication as directed and at the same time each day.

You will take this medicine as an injection or via an intravenous tube. If you are using this medication outside of a hospital environment be sure that you are comfortable with the instructions provided to you by your physician. If you have any questions regarding the preparation or injection of this medication be sure to ask your doctor prior to making any attempts to self-administer ertapenem.

It is important that patients do not combine this medication with other drugs that contain dextrose or are diluents.

It is possible that ertapenem may cause you to experience seizures or tremors; if you have a past history of these types of episodes and are currently taking medication such as an anticonvulsant, it is important that you continue taking such medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

Many patients report that they experience diarrhea while taking ertapenem. If you have serious diarrhea while on this drug, it can be a sign of a more serious problem. Prior to taking any anti-diarrhea medication, be sure to consult with your doctor as some of these medicines can actually prolong the condition.

If the diarrhea is mild in nature, you can take an over the counter remedy such as Kaopectate liquid or tablets. These are the only type of non-prescription remedy that should be taken, and your doctor should be consulted as soon as possible if the issue persists.

While taking this medication it is important that you confer with the prescribing physician prior to starting any new medications including those that are over the counter or herbal in nature.

Be aware that while taking ertapenem you may suffer from a very serious condition named anaphylaxis that is a type of allergic reaction. This ailment can be life-threatening and you will need to seek immediate emergency medical care. Discontinue taking the medication and notify your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the following symptoms while taking ertapenem:

  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble with breathing
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the mouth, hands or fact

Be aware that this medication is often combined with lidocaine prior to administration and should not be used in patients that have an allergy to this substance.

Storage

It is always best to keep any medication in its original packaging for storage. If you have completed your course of treatment and have excess or unused medication discuss with your physician or pharmacist about the best and most appropriate methods for disposal. Do not keep unused or expired medications.

Store ertapenem in the unopened vials and keep from direct light and excessive heat and cold. Do not freeze this medication which should be stored at room temperature.

Once you have mixed the solution be sure to use it within a six-hour time period. If you mix the solution and store it in a refrigerator it will be safe for use within a 24-hour period. If you have not used the solution within this time frame you must dispose of it. Do not freeze ertapenem, either before or after it has been mixed.

It is important that all needles are disposed of in a safe manner. You should procure a hard-sided container that will not be punctured by the discarded needles. Be sure to store this container in a location that is not accessible to pets or children.

Summary

This prescription medication is an effective treatment for the prevention of bacterial infection or to halt the growth of bacteria. This medicine is an antibacterial solution and is therefore not effective in the treatment of any condition that is caused by a virus, such as the common cold or influenza. This drug is either administered intravenously in the hospital, or the patient is trained to inject the medication into a muscle while at home. As this medication is commonly mixed with lidocaine, patients with an allergy to that substance should not use ertapenem.

This drug has been known to cause a potentially deadly allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis and patients who are taking ertapenem should be aware of the signs of this affliction and seek immediate emergency medical treatment should they occur.

Be sure to discuss all other medications that you are taking with your physician prior to beginning your ertapenem course of treatment. It is important that this medication is taken at the same time each day and that all doses be taken at their scheduled times. Many patients report an improvement in their symptoms after just a few doses of ertapenem, but it is important that the entire course of treatment be taken. Bacterial infections can be resilient and your body may develop a tolerance for ertapenem if it is not taken exactly as directed.

There are certain medical conditions that can be made worse with the use of ertapenem, and your doctor should be informed of your comprehensive medical history prior to your beginning treatment with ertapenem. If you are taking other medications be sure to inform your prescribing physician prior to beginning your ertapenem course of treatment. This medication should not be taken by patients that have an allergy to lidocaine.