Meropenem: A Pharmacoeconomic Review of its Use in Serious Infections
Stephen M. Holliday
Meropenem is a carbapenem antibiotic which is active against the majority of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria implicated in serious infections. Its therapeutic efficacy in a wide range of serious infections is similar to that of imipenem/cilastatin and standard combination drug regimens. Hence, meropenem is suitable for use as monotherapy. Although the acquisition cost of meropenem is likely to be higher than that of aminoglycoside- and metronidazole-containing combination regimens, the latter incur additional drug administration costs and potentially higher costs for treatment of adverse effects. In addition, aminoglycoside-containing regimens also incur assay and toxicity monitoring costs. Economic analyses are required to compare overall treatment costs with combination therapy and meropenem. Cost analyses indicate that the ability to give meropenem, but not imipenem/cilastatin, by rapid intravenous bolus injection results in lower drug administration costs than with the standard infusion method. More comprehensive pharmacoeconomic data on meropenem are required. However, assuming that meropenem and imipenem/cilastatin have similar acquisition costs, the option of administering meropenem by bolus injection and its lower epileptogenic potential at high dosages (thus permitting its use in meningitis) should be considered potentially important attributes when choosing a carbapenem antibiotic for inclusion in a hospital formulary.
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