Imipenem/Cilastatin sodium

Consumer Medicine Information

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about PRIMAXIN. It does not contain all the available information.

It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using PRIMAXIN against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about being given this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.

What PRIMAXIN is used for

PRIMAXIN is an antibiotic which is used to treat serious infections caused by bacteria (germs). These infections may occur in many different parts of the body.

PRIMAXIN is sometimes given in addition to other antibiotics.

PRIMAXIN works by killing the bacteria causing the infection.

Before you are given PRIMAXIN

When you must not be given it

Do not use PRIMAXIN if you have an allergy to PRIMAXIN or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.

Before you are given it

Tell your doctor if:

  1. you are pregnant or are breast-feeding
    Your doctor will discuss the possible risks and benefits of using PRIMAXIN during pregnancy and breast-feeding. PRIMAXIN passes into breast milk and may be passed on to the baby.
  2. you have any medical conditions, especially the following:
    - a history of seizures or fits
    - brain disease
    - kidney disease
    - bowel problems
  3. you have any allergies to other antibiotics, in particular, penicillins and cephalosporins
    If you are allergic to any of these, you may be allergic to PRIMAXIN.
  4. if you have any allergies to any other medicines or any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you are given PRIMAXIN.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including medicines that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop. Some medicines may affect the way other medicines work. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to tell you what to do when being given PRIMAXIN with other medicines.

How PRIMAXIN is given

PRIMAXIN is given as a slow injection into a vein. PRIMAXIN must only be given by a doctor or nurse.

Your doctor will decide what dose of PRIMAXIN you will receive, depending on your infection and other factors, such as your weight.

PRIMAXIN is usually given in divided doses throughout the day.

While you are using PRIMAXIN

Things you must do

If you feel sick while you are receiving PRIMAXIN, tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Your doctor may need to slow down the rate of the injection.

If you develop severe diarrhoea, even if it occurs several weeks after PRIMAXIN has been stopped, tell you doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Diarrhoea may mean that you have a serious condition affecting your bowel. You may need urgent medical care. Do not take any diarrhoea medicine without first checking with your doctor.

If you have a history of seizures and you are taking anticonvulsant medicines, tell your doctor. You should continue taking these medicines unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Some patients may develop tremors or seizures while receiving PRIMAXIN.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how PRIMAXIN affects you. PRIMAXIN generally does not cause any problems with your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. However, it may cause dizziness or lightheadedness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to PRIMAXIN before you drive a car or operating machinery.

Side Effects

Tell your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are being given PRIMAXIN. PRIMAXIN helps most people with infection, but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects. PRIMAXIN generally does not cause any problems.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • pain, swelling or red skin where you had the injection
  • nausea, vomiting
  • diarrhoea

These are the more common side effects of PRIMAXIN.

Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • high temperature, also called fever
  • seizures or fits
  • tremors, confusion
  • abnormal movements
  • agitation
  • tingling or numbness of the hands and feet
  • fast or irregular heart beat, also called palpitations
  • passing little or no urine (water)
  • bruising more easily than normal
  • signs of frequent or worrying infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
  • signs of anaemia, such as tiredness, being short of breath, and looking pale
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes, also called jaundice
  • skin problems such as rash or itchiness
  • red or purplish-red patches on the skin
  • hearing loss
  • severe abdominal or stomach cramps
  • watery and severe diarrhoea, which may also be bloody

These are serious side effects of PRIMAXIN. You may need urgent medical attention. Serious side effects are rare.

A few people may be allergic to some medicines. Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting
  • swelling of the face, lips, mouth or throat which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • itchy skin rash
  • pinkish, itchy swellings on the skin, also called hives or nettlerash

If you have these, you may have had a serious allergic reaction to PRIMAXIN. You may need urgent medical attention.

Also, tell your doctor if you notice:

  • staining of the teeth and/or tongue
  • a change in the colour of your urine

These are other side effects that have been reported with PRIMAXIN.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

After PRIMAXIN has been stopped

Things you must do

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects particularly if they occur several weeks after stopping treatment with PRIMAXIN:

  • severe abdominal cramps or stomach cramps
  • watery and severe diarrhoea, which may also be bloody
  • fever

These are all serious side effects. You may have a serious condition affecting your bowel. You may need urgent medical attention. Do not take any diarrhoea medicine without first checking with your doctor.


PRIMAXIN will be stored in the pharmacy or on the ward.

The powder for injection is kept in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

Do not use PRIMAXIN if the expiry date (EXP) printed on the carton has passed.

Product Description


Active ingredients:

  • PRIMAXIN 500 - imipenem 500 mg and cilastatin 500 mg (as the sodium salt) per vial

Inactive ingredients:

  • sodium bicarbonate


PRIMAXIN is supplied in Australia by:
Merck Sharp & Dohme (Australia) Pty Limited
Level 1, Building A,
26 Talavera Road,
Macquarie Park NSW 2113

This leaflet was prepared in December 2014.

Australian Registration Number:
PRIMAXIN 500 - AUST R 10509


Published by MIMS June 2015

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