Imipenem/cilastatin has the ability to kill a wide variety of bacteria. Imipenem is the active antibiotic agent and works by interfering with their ability to form cell walls, so the bacteria break up and die. Imipenem is rapidly degraded by the renal enzyme dehydropeptidase if administered alone (making it less effective); the metabolites can cause kidney damage. Imipenem is a broad-spectrum betalactam antibiotic used for severe bacterial infections caused by susceptible organisms. Because imipenem is rapidly inactivated by renal dehydropeptidase I, it is given in combination with cilastatin, a DHP-I inhibitor which increases half-life and tissue penetration of imipenem. Imipenem/cilastatin, like other carbapenems, binds to bacterial penicillin-binding proteins and interferes with bacterial cell wall integrity and synthesis. It has activity against many aerobic and anaerobic Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. viridans- group streptococci, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Bacteroides fragilis and Peptostreptococcus species. Imipenem/cilastatin was approved for use in the United States in 1985. Imipenem/cilastatin is indicated for the treatment of severe or complicated skin, tissue, joint, respiratory tract, intra-abdominal, urinary tract and urogenital infections, but not meningitis (as it does not pass through the blood brain barrier), endocarditis, and sepsis due to susceptible organisms. Its use is generally restricted to severe infections largely in hospitalized patients. The recommended dosage is 250 mg to 1 gram given intravenously every 6 to 8 hours or in intramuscular doses of no more than 1.5 gm daily, usually for five to 14 days. It is commercially available as Primaxin as 250-mg or 500-mg infusion bottles for IV use or 500-mg or 750-mg vials of lyophilized powder for IM injection. The most common side effects of imipenem are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, pruritus, and injection-site reactions.