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Ertapenem (Injection)

Ertapenem (er-ta-PEN-em)

Treats infections caused by bacteria. It is also used to prevent infections after colon and rectum surgery. This medicine is an antibiotic.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to ertapenem, or similar medicine (such as imipenem, meropenem, Merrem®, Primaxin®). You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to other antibiotics (such as amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin, piperacillin, ticarcillin, Amoxil®, Augmentin®, Principen®, Pipracil®, Ticar®, Timentin®, Unasyn®, Zosyn®), or a numbing medicine (such as lidocaine, Xylocaine®).

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into a muscle or a vein.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using probenecid (Benemid®) or valproic acid (Depakene®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, if you are on dialysis, or if you have a history of seizures, head injury, or brain tumor.
  • Tell your doctor about any allergic reactions you have had to a medicine (especially an antibiotic).
  • This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have itching; hives; hoarseness; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you get the injection.
  • Do not use this medicine for any condition that has not been checked by a doctor. This antibiotic will not treat the flu or common cold.
  • This medicine can cause diarrhea. Call your doctor if the diarrhea becomes severe, does not stop, or is bloody. Do not take any medicine to stop diarrhea until you have talked to your doctor. Diarrhea can occur 2 months or more after you stop taking this medicine.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Changes in skin color.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Red or dark brown urine.
  • Seizures.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Stomach cramps, pain, or tenderness.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, feet, or legs.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Confusion, sleepiness, or mood changes.
  • Headache.
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or upset stomach.
  • Redness, pain, itching, burning, swelling, irritation, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/4/2014
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