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What Is Doripenem?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated May 17, 2024
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Doripenem belongs to the class of drugs often referred to as carbapenem antibiotics. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and patients typically receive it intravenously, during hospitalization. After initial treatment they, may receive a prescription for oral antibiotics. The side effects of the drug are generally mild.

Beta-lactam antibiotics, such as pencillins, cephalosporins, and other carbapenem antibiotics, consist of a beta-lactam nuclear ring. Researchers suggest that doripenem inactivates penicillin-binding proteins and inhibits bacterial cell wall synthesis. Without this protection, the bacteria die. Bacteria often develop resistance to certain beta-lactam antibiotics by forming beta-lactamase enzymes, but studies indicate that doripenem is generally not affected by this reaction.

The antibiotic is generally effective against many aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, belonging to both Gram-negative and Gram-positive strains. Doripenem might be prescribed for an infection that exhibits resistance to other anti-infective medications. The drug is used most often for the treatment of difficult abdominal and urinary tract infections. These abdominal infections might include abdominal abscesses, appendicitis, and bowel perforation, in addition to peritonitis. Urinary tract infections commonly treated with doripenem include pyelonephritis.

Generally, doripenem is given once every eight hours for a period of five to 14 days. Patients sensitive to penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics may experience anaphylactic reactions. Possible reactions include a generalized rash, itching, and swelling of the throat and breathing difficulties. Yeast infections might occur during treatment or after the completion of treatment. There is also the possibility that a patient might develop a resistant strain of bacteria, often referred to as a super infection.

Common adverse reactions include headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Antibiotics generally contribute to the overgrowth of certain normal systemic organisms, including Clostridium difficile. When colonies of these bacteria increase beyond normal levels, patients may experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Phlebitis may occur at the intravenous insertion site. Serious adverse reactions include pneumonia or seizure activity.

Patients taking doripenem may experience anemia. The drug has been known to decrease the number of certain white bloods cells and platelets. Hospital staff should be alerted if a patient experiences increased fatigue or unusual bleeding or bruising.

Doripenem often interacts with the gout medication probenicid and the antiseizure medication valproic acid. It generally decreases blood levels of valproic acid, which may induce seizure activity, so patients might require a different seizure medication during antibiotic treatment. Studies also indicate that probencid interferes with the kidneys’ ability to eliminate the antibiotic effectively. Research suggests that patients should not receive these two medications simultaneously.

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