Why is this medication prescribed?
Ertapenem injection is used to treat certain serious infections, including pneumonia and urinary tract, skin, diabetic foot, gynecological, pelvic, and abdominal (stomach area) infections, that are caused by bacteria. It is also used for the prevention of infections following colorectal surgery. Ertapenem is in a class of medications called carbapenem antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria.
Antibiotics such as ertapenem injection will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
How should this medicine be used?
Ertapenem injection comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle). It is infused (injected slowly) intravenously over a period of at least 30 minutes once or twice a day for up to 14 days. It is also may be given once or twice a day intramuscularly for up to 7 days. The length of treatment depends on the type of infection being treated. Your doctor will tell you how long to use ertapenem injection. After your condition improves, your doctor may switch you to another antibiotic that you can take by mouth to complete your treatment.
You may receive ertapenem injection in a hospital, or you may use the medication at home. If you will be using ertapenem injection at home, use it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to explain any part you do not understand. Use ertapenem injection exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you will be using ertapenem injection at home, your healthcare provider will show you how to use the medication. Be sure that you understand these directions, and ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions. Ask your healthcare provider what to do if you have any problems infusing ertapenem injection.
You should begin to feel better during the first few days of treatment with ertapenem injection. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
Use ertapenem injection until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop using ertapenem injection too soon or if you skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking ertapenem injection:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ertapenem; other carbapenem antibiotics such as imipenem/cilastatin (Primaxin), doripenem (Doribax), or meropenem (Merrem); local anesthetics such as bupivacaine (Marcaine), etidocaine (Duranest), lidocaine, mepivacaine (Carbocaine, Prolocaine), or prilocaine (Citanest); cephalosporins such as cefaclor (Ceclor), cefadroxil (Duricef), or cephalexin (Keflex), other beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in ertapenem injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the manufacturer’s patient information for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: probenecid (Probalan) or valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever brain lesions, seizures, or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using ertapenem injection, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Ertapenem Side Effects
What side effects can this medication cause?
Ertapenem injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- redness or irritation at the injection site
- swelling, redness, burning, itching, or irritation of the vagina
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using ertapenem injection and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- pale skin
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
Ertapenem injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
If you will be injecting ertapenem injection at home, your healthcare provider will tell you how to store your medication. Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand how to store your medication properly.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to ertapenem injection.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish using ertapenem injection, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.